Children are victims of family violence
The Victorian Family Violence Protection (Vic) Act 2008 includes provisions to protect children.
Although protective parents or carers often make significant attempts to protect their children from the full impact of family violence, research has shown that children, even infants, nearly always know about the violence and are affected.
How family violence affects children
Children can be affected by family violence directly by:
- physical injury (eg. while being held or trying to intervene or during pregnancy)
- being fearful for themselves or their protective parent or carer, siblings or pets
- having sleeping or eating difficulties
- having problems with school because they can't focus
- being isolated from friends extended family and community
- physical assault, including higher rates of the use of excessive discipline
- threats toward a child or protective parent being used to frighten, punish or silence other victims
- exposure to developmentally inappropriate sexual experiences, including grooming and sexual assault
If you are worried about how your relationship with your partner is affecting your children, seek advice and help.
What police do to protect children
The safety of children is paramount, as children are the most vulnerable individuals in any family.
When family violence is reported to Victoria Police, police will take action to protect children.
The Code of Practice for Investigation into Family Violence requires police to:
- include children on Family Violence Safety Notices and applications for Family Violence Intervention Orders
- make referrals for all members of the family including children
- report child abuse to DHHS Child Protection Service
- investigate any crimes including those perpetrated against children
Refer to the:
Child Protection Service
The Child Protection Service is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is governed by the Children Youth and Families (Vic) Act 2005.
Child Protection is responsible for assessing and investigating any notification made by Victoria Police.
Whenever children are at risk due to family violence, Victoria Police routinely will make referrals to non-government services such as:
- Specialist family violence services
- Child First and Family Services
Some parents pro-actively seek advice from these services. You can use the links on these pages to learn more about what they offer and call services yourself.
If you or your children are Aboriginal, there are Aboriginal-community controlled organisations that can help the whole family including advocating to child protection.
For more information about how family violence can impact on children see:
- the national telephone counselling service for family violence and sexual assault
- has resources about how family violence affects children
- 24 hours 131 278 the government authority which responds to reports of child abuse or neglect
Some services that help children and young people include:
- a website for children and young people about living with violence inflicted towards a parent
- 1800 551 800 provides telephone support for children and young people
- a mental health support service for young people
- for information about on-line safety
For more information see
- see their family violence pages and films
- Help Line (7 days, 8am-11pm)
- (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) free telephone advice in a range of languages
- Family Violence Response Centre (24 hours) for women & children or
- (Mon-Fri, 8am-9pm) support and referral for men
- (24 hours)
- DHHS (24 hours)
- (24 hours) statewide referral for emergency housing
Reviewed 16 June 2021