How To Stay Safe at Home

young person experiencing domestic and family violence

If you are a young person experiencing domestic and family violence, it can be difficult to stay safe in an unsafe home. This is why it is important to plan for what happens when violence occurs, called “safety planning”. Safety planning will help you know what to do when family or domestic violence happens at home.

The below information has been sourced from the What’s Ok at Home? and Kids Helpline websites.

Safety planning for your situation might include the following:

  • Finding a place in your house where you can have some space.
  • Learning to predict the warning signs:
    • Family violence often occurs as a pattern, and you might notice a series of events that usually occur before the violence starts, for example:
      • The person using violence starts to make threats
      • The person using violence loses his or her temper easily, and becomes more impatient
      • You ‘feel’ that something bad is going to happen
    • Going into another room of your home:
      • Finding a safe room where you can “wait it out”. Some tips are:
        • Avoiding places in your house where the person using violence can easily access items which could be used to hurt you, e.g. kitchens and bathrooms
        • Finding a room with two exits and/ or where you can easily get outside
        • Finding a room that has a lockable door, such as a toilet
      • Doing something to make yourself feel better, for example:
        • Reading a book, listening to music, or browsing the internet
      • Trying not to get involved:
        • Although you may want to help another person who may be experiencing domestic or family violence, it is important that you try not to get involved
      • Creating a safety plan by visiting this website, and if there are other young people in your home, talk to them about creating a safety plan together.
      • Only leaving the home if it is safe to do so.

How to call the police on 000

When you call 000 in an emergency, an operator will answer and ask you whether you need the police, an ambulance or fire and emergency services. Respond by saying, “police“. The operator will then ask you for details about the emergency, at which point you can respond with the following information:

  • My name is _________
  • I am _____ years old
  • I need help. Send the police. Someone is hurting _______
  • The address is ________
  • The phone number is ________

If you can, stay on the line for as long as the operator needs you to. The operator might ask you for more information about the situation.

How are you feeling?

Your feelings matter. Even if you are not the person experiencing physical violence, living in a family where violence is occurring is a confronting experience which can affect how you feel. You might feel:

  • That the violence is your fault.
  • Confused that you love the person using violence, but you sometimes feel scared of them or see that person hurting someone else.
  • Guilty because you think you should have done something to stop the violence.
  • Angry at the person using violence for hurting you or others, or at yourself for not standing up for yourself or others.
  • Afraid of telling someone because you think you might get into trouble, or break up your family.

All these feelings can affect your school performance and your mental health. You might even begin to feel anxious or depressed. These feelings are normal and valid, and family violence is never your fault.

If you are struggling with these kinds of feelings, you might consider doing the following:

  • Writing down some positive things about yourself:
    • You might be a good pet owner, a great friend, or a kind person
    • If you are having trouble thinking of things to write down, ask a friend for some help
  • Talking to someone you trust:
    • This might be a family member, a friend, or a teacher
    • Even if the first person you approach does not help, keep reaching out to other people, as there will be people who want to help you
  • Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free (even from a mobile), confidential 24/7 online and phone counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Qualified counsellors at Kids Helpline are available via WebChat (hyperlink to https://kidshelpline.com.au/get-help/webchat-counselling), phone 1800 55 1800 or email anytime and for any reason.
  • Contacting eHeadspace to get free online counselling and telephone support.
  • Checking out the Youth Services section of our online directory to find some local youth services that may be able to support you.
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