When Annika McCaffrey was caught up in family violence, the people she turned to for help simply reported her complaint to her family.
Then a teenager, Ms McCaffrey sought counselling, because she felt like there were no other services available.
A counsellor then passed the information on to Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services.
"They didn't come over, they didn't do anything, they just said, 'This is what your daughter said'," Ms McCaffrey said.
"They didn't do any follow-ups or anything, so it actually just made the situation worse."
Feeling betrayed and isolated, she decided to wait it out until she could leave her home at 18.
"I just felt like, oh my gosh, these services, I can't trust anyone," she said.
Now 19, Ms McCaffrey has become an advocate for young people experiencing family violence, and is determined to improve the situation for others.
Together with other young people who have lived through family violence, she has produced an online video to share a message of hopefulness.
"We believe one thing that makes a difference are the messages of hope from young people, for young people," it says.
"You're not a victim — no matter what you have been through, you're still here.
"You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten and discouraged, but nothing has defeated."
Young people see services as 'for older women with kids'According to the Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria, children are present at one in every three family violence incidents police attend.
Domestic Violence Victoria's CEO, Fiona McCormack, told a recent panel discussion on the issue that the state's family violence royal commission had identified a gap in services for young victims of family violence.
"Young women are much less likely to contact a family violence or a sexual assault service, because they think that's for older women with kids," she said.
"Often, family violence isn't dealt with consistently through youth services."
Among the 227 recommendations made by the royal commission were calls for more funding to support children and young people who are victims.
It recommended priority funding for therapeutic interventions and counselling.
Ms McCormack said that represented an opportunity for youth services and the family violence prevention sector to work together.
Ms McCaffrey said services should listen to what children and young people need, and not treat them like secondary victims of family violence.
"What you're going through, it's powerful, and you can definitely overcome it," she said.
"[You] need that message of hope, and to know that you're not the odd one out."
This article was written by Stephanie Anderson and has been copied from here.
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