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Safe families – Aboriginal Parent Easy Guide

Feeling loved, safe and secure is very important for our children. It helps them to develop, learn and thrive in life.

Everyone in the family needs:

  • respect and kindness
  • loving care
  • people to look out for them and help them.

In a safe, loving home everyone is happier and healthier: 

  • babies develop better
  • children can learn better at school – they don’t worry about what’s going on at home.

Everyone has the right to feel safe – babies, children, teenagers, adults and Elders.

A safe, loving home is important for everyone, especially children. Violence at home harms everyone in the family. Violence is not part of our culture. It is never OK.

Violence affects everyone

  • Babies in the womb don’t grow as well if mum is stressed.
  • Children’s brain development can be affected.
  • Children can feel worried, scared and alone. They may show signs of stress by becoming very quiet, angry or ‘misbehaving’, having aches and pains or wetting the bed. Some children blame themselves for the violence.
  • Adults’ and teenagers’ health, jobs, study and relationships can be affected.

Types of violence and abuse

  • Physical harm
  • Making threats
  • Calling people names or ‘putting them down’
  • Taking money ­– making people pay for things
  • Stalking, constantly calling or texting
  • Harassing or bullying online eg Facebook
  • Controlling who people see and what they do
  • Not letting people be involved in culture or religion
  • Making people do sexual things when they don’t want to.

How violence happens

Violence can be from one partner to another, or between other adults. Teenagers or children can be violent to parents, brothers or sisters.

Violence can be big explosions or lots of ‘small’ acts over time. They can happen often or only sometimes. Violence can happen at home or in the community.

Some violence happens over and over in a cycle. There can be:

  • build-up: the person gets angry at small things, no matter how hard everyone tries to keep the peace
  • explosion: they yell, make threats or are physically violent
  • honeymoon: they say ‘sorry’, promise to change and things seem good for a while.

After days, hours or minutes the build-up starts again and the cycle repeats.

Remember many violent and abusive acts are against the law!

What you can do

...if there is violence in your home

  • Call the police on 000 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.
  • Make sure children are safe.
  • Seek help from services listed in contacts.

...if you are worried someone is being hurt

  • Let them know you are there for them.
  • Encourage them to seek help.
  • Don’t put yourself in danger. Seek help from services listed in contacts.

...if you are worried about a child

It can be hard to know what to do if you are worried that a child doesn’t seem to have things they need such as: 

  • food and proper clothing
  • going to medical appointments
  • going to school every day.

You could encourage the parents or carers to seek help from a service. They might just need a little help to do things differently.

If you are worried about a child’s safety, call the Child Abuse Report Line on
13 14 78. You can speak to an Aboriginal worker if available.

...if you are worried about your own anger

Sometimes it’s hard to admit we have an anger problem, or that we are violent or abusive towards people we care about. It’s never too late to change.

These organisations may be able to help:

  • 1800 Respect (National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling): Phone 1800 737 732, 24 hours – Counselling helpline, information and support
  • Mensline Australia: Phone 1300 789 978, 24 hours – Speak to someone about relationships or family concerns 
  • Beyond Blue: Phone 1300 224 636, 24 hours – Speak to a mental health professional about how you feel no matter how big or small the problem
  • Lifeline: Phone 13 11 14, 24 hours

Why people stay

People stay in violent relationships for many reasons, including:

  • hoping the person will stop
  • thinking that gifts and affection mean the person has changed
  • fearing more harm or retaliation from the person or their family
  • thinking they won’t be believed, or people will say it’s their fault
  • not wanting to break up the family
  • not having anywhere to go
  • not having money or help to leave
  • having grown up around violence and not seeing it as a problem. They don’t realise it is not normal and not acceptable.

If someone you know is living with violence, work out how you can safely support them to get help from professionals.

Services

If you are in immediate danger call the police on 000

For police attendance: Phone 131 444

Contact

See parent information and support.