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If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything, you can visit eHeadspace (new window), call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the Police on 000.

Families can be a source of comfort and support, but they can also be a source of conflict and anxiety. Here's some advice for getting through the rough times with your family.

Topics on this page include:

> Family conflict
> Family violence
> If you have to leave your family home
> Divorce & separation
> Dealing with death & illness
> Adoption
> Links to helpful organisations

Family conflict

Family conflict is when you disagree with or can't get along with a family member. It's a different thing to family violence, which is a more serious situation (see below for more information about dealing with family violence).

It's normal to come into conflict with your family members. Arguments and disagreements are common, but some things can be hard to get past.

There are lots of reasons for family conflict and disagreement, but there are also lots of ways that you can try to resolve things. Being prepared to discuss your different opinions instead of arguing is a good start. So is being prepared to compromise if necessary.

Check out Reach Out! for information about ways to approach conflict with parents and guardians (new window) and conflict between brothers and sisters (new window).

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Family violence

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the Police on 000.

Family violence doesn't just mean experiencing violence from your immediate family. It can mean violence perpetrated by your partner or someone you are in a "family-like" relationship with.

Family violence isn't just about physical injury. It can also include:

  • Direct or indirect threats
  • Sexual assault
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Using money to abuse or exert control
  • Damage to property
  • Social isolation
  • Any behaviour that can cause someone to live in fear

If you need support or just someone to talk to, you can call:

To find out more about help with family violence, visit:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services Family Violence pages (new window) 
  • The Lookout (new window) - a good resource with information about identifying family violence and where you can find help

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If you have to leave your family home

Sometimes family issues, particularly those involving abuse or violence, mean you have to leave your family, home or partner.

Coping with your emotions, getting money together and finding somewhere to live all at the same time can be really hard.  If you need to talk to someone, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Crisis and emergency accommodation is available for people whose homes are no longer safe and who have nowhere else to go. Check out our Emergency Accommodation page to find out what your options are and who you can talk to.

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Divorce & separation

Divorce and separation are common. They can happen for lots of reasons. Just because your family isn't the same as it used to be doesn't mean that it's not still a family.

The most important thing to remember is that it's not your fault. When two adults decide to separate, their reasons have to do with their own relationship, not their relationship with their children.

It's also important to understand that it's okay to feel bad. Give yourself permission to be upset and try talking to people you trust about how you feel.

Griefline offers free counselling services for people dealing with changes in their family circumstances. You can either call them on 1300 845 745 or contact them online (new window).

For more information about family separation, including dealing with shared custody between parents, check out Reach Out!'s Dealing with Divorce and Custody page (new window).

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Dealing with death and illness

Death and illness are difficult things to deal with, especially when they affect the people closest to us.

If you're dealing with the death of a family member, or struggling to cope with your own or someone else's illness, there are plenty of people you can speak to. Try talking to other family members and friends if you can.

If you'd rather speak to someone else, here are some options:

  • eHeadspace - chat online or get help at www.eheadspace.org.au (new window)
  • Lifeline - call on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline - call on 1800 55 1800
  • Griefline - call on 1300 845 745 or contact them online (new window).

ReachOut! has more information about finding help while coping with death and illness on their Loss and Grief pages (new window).

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Adoption - Finding your birth parents

If you were adopted, you might like to know more about your birth or biological parents. You might even want to track them down.

The Victorian Government's Family Information and Networks Discovery (FIND) can help people adopted in Victoria to contact their birth parents. You can contact FIND online (new window) or call them on 1300 769 926.

The Victorian Adoption Network for Information & Self-Help (VANISH) (new window) also offers information and support for anyone involved in adoption.

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Links

Reach Out! - Families
Heaps of articles by young people and advice from experts about dealing with a wide range of family issues.

eHeadspace
Talk to other young people and professionals and get advice to help with your problems.

Frontyard Youth Services
Help for people between 12 and 25. Free services include family support, housing support and health services.

youthbeyondblue
Info about how family and friends can help with depression & anxiety.

Griefline
Free counselling support services for individuals and families.

Department of Health and Human Services - Family Violence
A list of government resources available to address family violence.

The Lookout
Information about domestic and family violence support available across Victoria.

Family Information and Networks Discovery
Helping people adopted in Victoria to contact their birth parents. 

Victorian Adoption Network for Information & Self-Help (VANISH)
Information and support for anyone involved in adoption.

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