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If you are in danger call 000 or
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If you would just like to talk to
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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.
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.
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
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- scared of someone hurting you?
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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.
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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.
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.
- My sister is 14 and for a bit over the past year she has been going quite feral ever since she entered year 8. She has stolen my money, over $50 which is to me a large amount, she sneaks out at night and has been drinking. My parents have caught her but they really haven’t done anything to stop this, I know the sneaking out and drinking is "normal" for 14 year olds nowadays, but stealing my money and constantly abusing myself and our parents really isn't on, kids these days don't seem to understand that certain words just aren't appropriate, how can I try to stop her without having to be abusive back to her?
Behaviour changes can apply for some young people during their teens, yet your sister’s recent behaviour does carry risk and as you state, really isn’t on regardless of a person’s age or circumstances. While it’s admirable that you recognise this and are feeling the need to set some boundaries for and with your sister, it’s important to note that the primary responsibility for this lies with your parents. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and help set those boundaries - particularly in areas that directly affect you and your stuff. While you and your sister are under 18, and while you live under their roof, your parents have the right to negotiate and set behavioural guidelines and expect you to behave according to those guidelines. In addition, they have a basic parental responsibility to maintain their provision of care and guidance, and generally promote the well being of their kids. A health and safety focussed discussion of the dangers of sneaking out at night and taking alcohol or other drugs would be an example of this. As such, the first step may be for you to come together as a family and work out strategies for dealing with your sisters’ current attempts to push her rights as a teenager: rights which she apparently wants to enjoy without accepting any accompanying responsibilities, and without any regard for the rights of the rest of the family. Helping improve your sisters behaviour without becoming abusive is a challenging - yet worthwhile - aim. The following steps may assist in this process: First, your parents need to set up the expected behavioural rules and guidelines and make sure everyone understands them. Making the discussion about ‘family functioning’ and not ‘younger sisters’ behaviour’, would hopefully make such a session easier for your sister to stomach. Your parents need to state their reasonable expectations calmly and firmly. In this case some obvious examples are ‘no sneaking out at night and no stealing from each other’. Rules like these should be non-negotiable. There may be other guidelines which you or your sister can negotiate with them. Secondly the family can discuss what the consequences for infringement and rewards for sticking to the rules and guidelines are. Consequences can involve loss of privileges, suspension of entitlements or withdrawal of more basic rights in and around the family home and the consequences can become increasingly severe if rules are repeatedly broken, or decreased for compliance. Rewards can become the sought after ‘bonus’ for consistently positive actions. Your parents will need to be willing and able to follow through on them. Likewise, you can work out the particular things you need your sister to stop or start doing to you. Try to discuss this with her calmly and clearly first. Then check out if there are consequences and rewards you can help motivate her with. For example, do you give her lifts to places? Are there things of yours that she likes to borrow (not steal). Regardless, you will need your parents backing for any boundaries you try and set with her, and again your parents will have the final word. Finally, setting up this kind of framework will give your parents a better chance of effectively communicating their expectations with your sister into the future. If your sister breaks the agreement she only has herself to blame, and the consequences can take the place of people yelling and fighting with her. She will probably do most of the screaming at first, but will eventually realise that this just gets her into deeper hot water - consequence wise.
None of the above is easy. It is basically asking the family to ‘re-program’ how it operates in a number of areas. Your sister’s behaviour could get worse before it gets better because the family is trying to set limits for her, and - in some areas - she’s already been getting off scott-free. However, this is important for your family’s sanity and for your sisters’ development as a person. If your parents need help they should contact Parentline phone counsellors in your state or territory for information, support and referral. It might be necessary for the school to become involved at some point too. Meanwhile, you have a right to have your property, privacy and safety protected, and to get on with your life without abuse or having to take the ‘parenting role’ in relation to your sister. A Kidshelpline phone or e-counsellor (1800 55 1800) could help you deal with your frustrations, and discuss strategies too.