Information for children – family violence and abuse in relationships

If you experience violence in your family or relationship in Victoria, services are available to give you support and assistance.

About family violence and abuse in relationships

Family violence is a pattern of behaviour where one person tries to control or scare another person. It is a form of abuse that can happen in many different types of relationships.

You may experience family violence directly or see and hear abuse and violence between other family members.

On this website you can learn more about:

Do you need help?

If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime is currently occurring, please call police on Triple Zero (000). If you cannot access a phone you can also go to your local police station.

Free support across Victoria

The Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817 is available every day 8am to 11pm to provide advice and referrals to anyone from any background who is experiencing violence or abuse in their family or relationships.

Open: 8am–11pm, every day
Call: 1800 819 817
Text: 0427 767 891

In Victoria there are a range of services that can provide assistance and support. We can discuss your situation with you and connect you to support and assistance that best meets your needs and preferences.

You can find out more about general family violence services available in Victoria.

You can also contact specialist services available for children and young people.

Safe Steps

Victoria’s family violence support service for women and children experiencing violence and abuse.

Open: 24 hours, every day
Call: 1800 015 188

Kids Helpline

24 hour phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.

Open: 24 hours, every day
Call: 1800 55 1800


Free legal advice for people under 25 including drop in clinics, phone & email advice – Victoria wide.

Open: 9am–5pm, every day
Call: (03) 9113 9500

Frontyard Youth Services (provided by Melbourne City Mission)

Integrated services to address the physical, social and emotional needs of young people aged between 12 and 25 years who are homeless or marginalised. Most services are delivered in the Melbourne CBD, but some services are available across Victoria.

9am–8pm, Monday to Friday
10am–6pm Saturday and Sunday
Call: (03) 9611 2411 or 1800 800 531
Website: Frontyard Youth Services on the Melbourne City Mission website

Report abuse

Reporting child abuse to Victorian Child Protection Service
(Department of Health and Human Services)

You should make a report to Child Protection if you are concerned that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect, and that their parent has not protected, is unable to protect or is unlikely to protect the child from harm of that type.

Business hours (9am–5pm, Monday to Friday)

Contact the child protection intake service in your area.

After hours (Weeknights 5pm–9pm, and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays)

Contact the after hours Child Protection Emergency Service on 13 12 78.

Reporting concern for a child’s wellbeing to The Orange Door

If you have concern for the wellbeing of a child, but do not believe they are at risk of significant harm, and where the immediate safety of the child will not be compromised, you can report to The Orange Door.

These services can link children to services that can help. For a contact phone number in your area, visit The Orange Door website.

Mandatory reporting – protecting children from harm

In Victoria, police officers and other professionals such as medical practitioners, nurses and teachers, are legally required to report to child protection if they believe a child:

  • has been or might be harmed because of physical or sexual abuse, and
  • their parents or guardians have not protected them, are not able to protect them or are not likely to protect them.

This is called mandatory reporting.

All adults in the community have a responsibility to report child sexual abuse

Since 2014, there has been a law in Victoria called the failure to disclose offence.  It means that you must report child sexual abuse if you:

  • are an adult, and
  • you come to a ‘reasonable belief’ that a sexual offence (sexual abuse) has been committed by an adult against a child under 16.

If this happens you must report your belief to the police, unless you have a reasonable excuse. If you do not, you may be charged with a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is three years imprisonment.

You can learn more about the failure to disclose offence on the Department of Justice and Community’s website.