Factsheets -

Can they do this to me?

Being bullied at school
Is this discrimination?
Factsheets -

Clash or match?

What if they are older than me?
Long distance loving
Factsheets -

Getting it together - friends, girlfriends, boyfriends

Getting serious - or not
Personal space
How can I make my relationship work?
Factsheets -

Getting through the hard stuff

Surviving sexual assault - (young men)
Surviving sexual assault - (young women)
Factsheets -

Happy families

Where can I go for help with getting along with my family?
Factsheets -

Love or creepy?

Scary dates
Factsheets -

Male and female

Challenge the old ways
Factsheets -

Playing safe online

Grossing me out
Factsheets -

What can I do about an abusive relationship?

Factsheets -

When is it not okay?

Am I being abusive?
What about child abuse?
Factsheets -

Who can help?

If you are in danger call 000 or
tell someone you can trust

If you would just like to talk to
someone, help is at your fingertips ...

All the services below are available and free* for young people to use.
All the 1800 numbers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The person you speak to will be an experienced counsellor, not the police, not a government department.
You will not have to give your name.

* Please note that all mobile phone calls made from within Australia to Kids Helpline—using Optus (including Virgin), Vodafone, and Telstra—and 1800 Respect—using Telstra—are now free.

Relationship Advice

Are you having problems with a friend, partner or family member or would you just like to talk to someone about where to "draw the line"?

Call 1800 MYLINE (1800 695 463)
or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Online Safety and Cyberbullying

Are you being bullied online or has something happened online that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or sad?

Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
or go to the Kids Helpline online
counselling service

Relationship Violence

Are you or have you been:

  • scared of someone hurting you?
  • sexually assaulted?
  • concerned about violence in a relationship with a friend, partner or family member?

Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or
talk to a counsellor online.

Crisis Support, Suicide and Mental Health

If you would like to talk to someone about anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts or attempts:

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14

To find out how to report cyberbullying, offensive content, scams or online abuse, or just find out more about cybersafety, check out the Cybersmart website.

You can also download the Cybersafety Help Button to your computer for help and advice on a range of online risks including cyberbullying, unwanted contact, scams and fraud, and offensive or inappropriate material.

Legal rights and responsibilities

If you want some legal information you can go to the Lawstuff website and search in your state or territory. If you can't find what you want, you can send a legal question to Lawmail. Lawyers will reply to your message as quickly as possible, usually within 6 days.

Assisted Call Services

For the Translating and Interpreting Service please call 13 14 50. If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment, you can call the National Relay Service on 13 36 77.

Your Questions

Read responses from our expert psychologist, to some of the most commonly faced issues

The questions and answers below on this page help provide advice to others who may be in a similar situation. Please note the advice provided on this page is of a general nature and not specific to any individual or personal circumstance.

Please do not send questions raising urgent issues. If you need help, see our contact details for free counselling services.

The circumstances described in some of the questions below may raise legal issues. We suggest that contact be made with the Police or with a lawyer to find out what assistance or options may be available in these circumstances.

Previous Questions

Everyone is spreading rumours about me being gay at school which makes me uncomfortable. Before the rumours started I was thinking I was. This makes me really uncomfortable coming to school and having to deny it all day. I told my best friend and she trusts me but I don't know about anyone else.

Sex and sexuality can be a fascinating subject, and it’s natural for people to be curious about various expressions of it. Our popular culture regularly inundates us with sexual references. However, our sexuality also involves some very deep, powerful and intimate parts of ourselves, which we can choose to keep private – especially until we have a clearer understanding of what it is, what it means to us, and how to express it. It is not at all surprising that you’re feeling uncomfortable right now: a private matter which you seem to be in the process of getting a handle on is being ‘broadcast’ to the public. People are inappropriately prying into a personal aspect of your identity before you’re ready to share that side of yourself with the world. While some of the guys at school may be expressing curiosity or just wanting to be supportive of you, others may be using your personal circumstances for their own shallow ‘entertainment’. There may also be some who are using these rumours to hassle you. If you’re feeling singled out, bullied or in some way victimised at school, you should discuss this with your school counsellor or trusted senior member of staff. They have a duty to help maintain your well-being at school, and you have a right to have your privacy protected.

Only you can really know if you’re gay or not. You are entitled to take your time and maintain your privacy while you explore this possibility. It’s not uncommon for some people to be attracted to members of the same gender at different stages of their development, and before they’ve worked out what their stronger sexual preferences are. Others can be so worried about how other people might react to them being gay that they spend years pretending they’re straight – almost leading a double life. Many gay people report having felt compelled to keep secrets from the most important people in their lives: their close friends and family. Is this something you could discuss with your family as yet? The Gay & Lesbian Counselling & Community Services of Australia website (www.glccs.org.au) lists the following considerations in deciding whether to ‘come out’ or not:-

Some reasons not to come out are: • Possible rejection by some friends or family • In some cases violence or being kicked out of the home may be a result • Parents and friends may refuse to believe what they have been told and could continue to refer to you as straight. • They could also treat it as a phase you are going through • You may be asked to see a doctor or psychologist (but professionals like these should be supportive of you anyway) • If you are in a ‘straight’ relationship it may lead to your breaking up with your boy or girl-friend • Lack of privacy in smaller towns. Everybody knows everybody's business • There may be religious issues.

Some of the possible benefits of coming out include: • You don't have to make up stories or lie about what you have been doing and/or thinking • Possibility for acceptance by the people that mean most to you • You can talk about your feelings openly and honestly with your friends and family • You don't have to pretend that you are attracted to the opposite sex (when you are actually interested in a same-sex relationship) • You have more freedom to express your true feelings and ideas without having to censor yourself in front of others • Your friends or family can get to know you a lot better • You don't have to worry that someone might see you in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you sense you are gay, it could be helpful to discuss this with friends and adults you feel safe with. Before bringing the issues to those whose reactions you are more worried about however, take time to consider your particular circumstances and perhaps become more confident and comfortable with your sexuality first. Meanwhile, it’s great that you have a best friend that you can talk to. It would be useful to speak to specialist counsellors – both from general youth services, as well as from services working specifically with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and ‘questioning’ (as in ‘unsure’) young people (GLBTIQ). They can help you work out where you may stand, who you want to tell and how to tell them. The Not So Straight website (http://notsostraight.com.au ) contains many links to services (primarily in NSW with some national links) for young people asking questions about their sexuality. Otherwise, Kidshelpline counsellors (1800 55 1800) can discuss the issues with you 24-7, and link you to services around Australia which can assist. “Coming out can have a big impact on your life – sometimes positive or sometimes negative. Either way, it will help if you are ready to deal with some of the consequences before actually doing it”.

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