Domestic violence

Domestic violence, sometimes called family violence, is when someone close to you threatens you or does something to harm you or someone else in your family. Domestic violence is not just physical violence.

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What is domestic violence?

There are a lot of ways domestic violence can happen. Some common examples include:

  • physical assault: punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, choking, or using weapons;
  • sexual assault: being forced to have sex or do sexual activities, either by watching or participating;
  • economic abuse: taking control of the money, not giving you enough money to survive on, forcing you to hand over your money, not letting you have a say in how it is spent;
  • threatening or intimidating you: stalking, yelling, shouting, name-calling, swearing at you (this could be spoken or in writing, for example through SMS texting or Facebook);
  • damaging your property or harming your pets or
  • any other abuse to control or dominate you: stopping you from seeing your friends and family, or isolating you from others.

The person who is threatening or harming you can be someone in your family or can be a boyfriend or girlfriend, someone living with you, a relative, a parent or carer, or even your parents’ partner.

Domestic violence can happen to you, or someone else in your family, e.g. violence between your parents. If you see it happening to someone else in your family, you should still report it.

If you witness, overhear or are exposed to domestic violence, this could also be child abuse. You have the right to be safe from all types of abuse. See our factsheet on Child Abuse for more information.

Is domestic violence illegal?

Domestic violence, sometimes called family violence, is against the law. You have the right to feel safe at home and you should never have to see or experience it. It is okay to complain and to talk to someone about it.

What can I do?

Domestic violence is unacceptable and if you see it occur or are a victim of it, please report it. Everyone has a right to be safe from any type of violence.

Tell someone

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger of being hurt, please call the Police on 000.

If you feel unsafe in your home because of the violence that is happening, it is important to talk to someone. If you do not speak to anyone or report what is happening, then no one will know what is going on and they can’t help you.

You could talk to an adult you trust and feel comfortable with, like a family friend or your teacher. Below is a list of important contacts you can call if you need to talk to someone else.

What will happen if I report?

If you call the Police or 1800RESPECT, all information you give will be kept confidential. In other words, the person who is causing the violence will not be told that you have contacted them. The Police or the authorities may investigate what is happening. If they are worried about your safety, a court order can be made preventing the person from hurting you, such as an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).

Important contacts

  • 1800RESPECT(National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service) provides 24 hour counselling, support and referral for anyone whose life has been impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence on 1800 737 732
  • The Domestic Violence Line is a 24 hour/7 days crisis support helpline run by the Department of Family and Community Services and can be contacted at 1800 656 463 or 1800 671 442.
  • Child Protection Helpline is a 24/7 helpline for reporting child abuse and neglect run by the Department of Family and Community Services. For general inquiries, call 132 111 or 1800 212 936. For urgent matters, call 133 627.
  • Kids Helpline is a very supportive service that helps young people from age 5 to 25 years old, and they keep everything confidential. You don’t even have to give them your name or personal details if you don’t want to. You can call them 24 hours a day on 1800 55 1800. It’s a free call from any Telstra, Optus or Vodafone mobile. You can also email them here, or get in contact with their online chat service here
  • Bursting the Bubble is a website designed specifically for children and young people on issues of domestic violence.

If you’re under 25 and you have a question about domestic violence that we haven’t answered here, please ask us a question here and we can give you some free information and advice.

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