If you are bewildered by the separation of your parents, you aren’t the only one.

Thousands of teenagers throughout Australia experience the effects of family separation annually. Without a doubt, separation causes problems for teens like you.

You will probably be wondering what has caused this disruption to your life and you may even think it could be your fault in some way or other. What you should know is that it is not your fault and your parents still see you as their child. You aren’t expected to find a solution to the disruption as they are still your parents and your safety and well being is their responsibility.

When there is violence

Sometimes, unexpectedly, violence may take place and you might even be at the receiving end, whether you like it or not. There is always recourse when violence takes place either between your parents or towards you. You should never keep these events a secret. The first thing you should do is tell a close relative or friend what you are experiencing so that you don’t feel alone.

If the violence is physically threatening you don’t wait for it to get out of hand call the police. This may be your only chance of keeping safe and free from injury. You might well be doing your family a favour too if you contact the police and injury or even a death may be prevented.

Violence between parents which is called domestic violence is against the law and when such an event takes place the perpetrator can be charged with assault or other criminal offences such as threatening to inflict injury, stalking them or forcing them to engage in sexual activities.

In most Australian states, if a parent or a family member is experiencing injury, harassment or abuse by another family member including a parent, the affected person can make an application for an Intervention Order from a court so that they are protected from further abuse.

State laws are in place to protect teens

In every Australian state, there are laws which protect teens from being abused by parents, other family members, or even other adults. These laws state that children or teens should not be subjected to physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Some forms of child abuse are considered to be criminal offences which include inflicting physical or sexual abuse while other forms are not necessarily criminal, but they are not appropriate such as a parent humiliating or screaming at you.

In most Australian states, the government has a department which looks into reports of child abuse. How the child protection services or the police respond to child abuse is dependent on the circumstances. If a parent deliberately injures you or demands you take part in sexual activity the parents or family members can be charged with a crime.

Sometimes the child protection department will work with parents or family members so that the child abuse stops. On occasions the department may prevent the abusive family member from making contact with their children.

The safety of teens is of great concern after parents separate