- Healthy relationships start with feeling respected and safe
- You have a right to respect and safety in all your relationships
- Relationship behaviour that is abusive is never OK and may be domestic and family violence or sexual violence
- If you are worried about unhealthy, abusive or violent behaviour in any of your relationships, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through the online chat.
Respect and safety
Healthy relationships are important. They remind us that we are valued and allow us to share the joys and challenges of life with others.
You have the right to feel respected and safe in your relationships, including with:
- Boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, husbands or wives
- Ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-partners, ex-husbands or ex-wives
- Carers and paid support workers
- Parents, guardians and other family members
- Adult children
- People you work with
- Other people you live with or see often, whether inside or outside the place you live.
It is not healthy for any of these people to control you or cause you to live in fear.
Signs of a healthy relationship
A healthy relationship brings more happiness than sadness or stress. The other person doesn’t scare you and you can talk openly about your feelings.
A healthy relationship gives you freedom to:
- See family and friends
- Go out without the other person
- Control your own money
- Make decisions about your body
- Make decisions about your work, friends and where you live
- Have your own hobbies and interests
- Follow your own cultural practices, religion or spiritual beliefs.
A healthy relationship is not abusive, meaning you:
- Communicate with each other with respect
- Are not scared to be honest about how you feel
- Feel safe
- Can say no to sex.
A healthy relationship is respectful, meaning you:
- Listen to each other’s opinions and feelings
- Are able to celebrate achievements
- Don't insult or abuse each other when arguing
- Don't force each other to do things you don’t want to do
- Don't control or manipulate each other.
Repeated behaviour that makes you feel unsafe can be a sign of an abusive relationship.
All relationships go through hard times. Having disagreements and feeling unhappy are things we all face at different stages. Sometimes it can be hard to know what is normal and what isn’t. Many relationships go through ups and downs, but abuse is a repeating pattern of behaviour. It is important to know that you should never feel unsafe in a relationship.
A relationship may be unhealthy if the other person:
- Tries to control you
- Pressures you
- Deliberately hurts you
- Expresses extreme jealousy
- Puts you down
- Threatens you
Many of these things can be abusive and are not OK. If you think your relationship might be unhealthy or abusive it is important to know that support is available.