In your family
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 'My dad abused my mum. Maybe this is what's going on at your place. Or maybe a family member is hurting you, or your brothers or sisters. If this is happening, I want you to know - YOU AREN'T ALONE - there's lots of other people out there who have been through this too, and you can get through it.'  

What is domestic violence

 Parents should always show each other respect. Both parents have a right to express their opinions and beliefs, and to see their own family or friends. But in some families, one parent doesn't show respect for the other. Instead, sometimes they try to hurt, control or bully the other parent. This is called domestic violence.

For information on abuse of children see Child Abuse or Sexual abuse
'He treats her like he owns her and she has to do what he says or else.'

Forms of domestic violence

Domestic violence isn't always physical. The other forms of abuse can hurt just as much as physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is making the person feel hurt or bad - like constantly putting the other parent down or making them feel stupid. It can include emotional blackmail, like threatening to commit suicide if their partner leaves.
'My Dad always uses really bad language at mum. He laughs at her and calls her a 'loser' or says she's useless.'
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Social abuse is when one parent stops the other from seeing their friends or family, or from having a job. It can include when one parent constantly checks up on where the other is, or follows or stalks them.

'Mum's boyfriend would get paranoid and go off at her if she even talked to another man. He would keep an eye on her all the time and question what she does or where she's been.'

Financial abuse is when one parent takes control of the money in the household, and doesn't let the other parent have any money.
'Mum's never allowed to have any of her own money to spend, and he won't let her use the car to see my grandma.'
Sexual abuse is when one person makes the other do sexual things that they don't want to do. Noone has the right to force someone else into sexual contact - even if they are married.

Physical abuse is when one parent hits, pushes, throws things, smashes things, or threatens to physically hurt the other.
'My step-dad gets aggro and makes mum scared of him.'
Abuse and violence is wrong. Many forms of abuse are against the law.
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How domestic violence affects young people

Seeing one parent treat the other badly can really affect you. If one parent is abusing the other, they are also abusing you. They are not making your home a safe or happy place to be. You shouldn't have to feel nervous in your own home because of the way a parent behaves towards others. See 'How is this Affecting Me?' or FAQs about Domestic Violence

What's the difference between arguments and domestic violence?

All couples have arguments - but there's a difference between arguments and abuse. In a relationship that isn't abusive, both parents might argue or disagree, but they both still feel free to say what they really think. Abuse or domestic violence is when one parent bullies or frightens the other parent so they don't feel like they can say or do what they want to. Most often (but not always) it's the male parent who is abusive. He may have the attitude that a man has the right to 'be the boss' and to dominate women. But this is not right - both parents should treat each other fairly as equals.

See also:

Question    GOT A QUESTION? If you're not sure whether what's going on at home is ok or not, ring or email Kids Help Line and discuss it with them, or call another service - See What services can help me

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