What happens if I call the police?

A mother standing at a kitchen bench hunched

This can help if:

  • you've felt scared of your teenager or in danger of being hurt

  • you've been in a situation where you thought about calling the police about your teenager

  • you're unsure how the police would handle your situation.

Violence is not ok. If you are in immediate danger and you have fear of being hurt it is best to leave the house and/or call the police. This does not mean you have to press charges, but it makes sure your teen understands it is not okay behaviour.

What will happen once I call the police?

Some parents worry about calling the police on their teen, but sometimes it’s the safest option for both of you. Here’s what to expect once you call them:

  • The Police will ask for your details and about what has happened.

  • They’ll ask if you are safe, and give you some advice.

  • They might send a car around to help sort out the situation.

  • Depending on if anyone is hurt / or if there’s property damage, they might ask you if you want to press charges.

  • Depending on what has happened and whether the teenager has a diagnosed mental illness it is possible that they might be taken directly to a local hospital. In this case it is also possible that they might be held involuntarily if the hospital think they are a threat to themselves or those around them.

  • A domestic violence liaison officer (DVLO) or youth liaison officer (YLO) will be available that you can talk to you about options.

  • In some states police might automatically put an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in place, however these all have different conditions and doesn’t have to mean you need to stop living together. It can just reinforce what the law says anyway - no threats, no violence.

  • Remember, Police will try and explore all other options before any charges are laid.

What if I don't want to call the police?

For some people calling the police is scary, uncomfortable or doesn’t feel right. It is important to remember that the police are currently the best option available for managing a violent situation. However, that doesn’t mean you need to call 000 straight away.

  • If violence has been an issue in the past you can organise to have a discrete chat with a DVLO/YLO about your options – chatting outside of crisis time will give you a chance to explore your options and get comfortable about your choices.

  • You can talk to a community leader or local service about how they can support you.

  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to support you in communicating with the police.

Whether you end up getting the police involved or not, we recommend you give 1800 RESPECT (737 732) a call. You can have a chat to a counsellor about your options and ask them about developing a safety plan.

Did you find what you needed?

  • I need to know more - Read our factsheet on anger.