Home and school - Young people

Everyone has rights. Young people have different rights to adults when it comes to many life events. 

This information will help you to understand what you can do if you are being bullied, your rights when leaving home and school, and in relation to some key events when you turn 18, such as voting and making a will.

What if I am being bullied?

No one should be bullied. If you are being bullied at school or online, you should tell your parents and your teacher, a school counsellor, or the school principal. If the bullying is in a form that is against the law (for example, being hit) you should report it to the police. . Find more information on our webpage Cyber bullying and online harassment.

What if I am being abused at home?

You should be safe at home. If you are being abused at home and don’t feel you can tell a parent or adult sibling, then you can tell your teacher, a school counsellor, or another adult you trust, or call the Department of Communities, Child Protection on 1800 273 889 or after-hours Crisis Care on 1800 199 008 (freecall). If you are in immediate danger or a life-threatening situation you can call the police on 000.

When can I leave home?

If you want to leave home without your parents' agreement, you should talk it over with a school counsellor, a youth worker, or an adult you trust.

Generally a young person will not be forced to go home if they have a safe place to go, enough money to live on, are mentally healthy, not in danger, and not committing (or at risk of committing) any crimes (such as drug related offences or prostitution).

If your parent or guardian does not know where you are, they may make a 'missing persons' report to the police or let the Department of Communities know that they are concerned about your wellbeing.

When can I leave school?

Going to school is compulsory is from the beginning of the year in which you reach the age of 5 years 6 months, until the end of the year in which you reach the age of 17 years 6 months or turns 18, whichever happens first.

However, there are alternatives to full-time schooling. For older students, this usually requires an exemption from schooling or, in the case of the final years of compulsory education, a notice of arrangement.

You can be in school, training or employment (or a combination of these).

If you do not want to stay full-time in a private or public school, you might be able to do:

  • full-time home based schooling
  • full-time enrolment in a registered training organisation
  • an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • a community-based course
  • part-time school/training and part-time work, or
  • full-time employment. (The Minister for Education’s delegate must approve you leaving school and getting a full-time job). 

If you need help with deciding which option is best for you, talk to your teacher at school about pathway planning or contact your education regional office.

When can I get my own passport?

You can apply for a passport at any age. The application form you need to complete is available from any post office.

Usually, a young person under 18 needs their parents or guardian to consent and sign the application for a passport.

You can apply for a passport before you turn 18 if your parents or guardian agree.

If your parents or guardian can’t or won’t agree, there are steps you can take to get a passport. You don't need your parents' or guardian's consent to get a passport if you are under 18 but married.

When can I vote?

Before you can vote, you must place your name on the electoral roll. If you are an Australian citizen, you can register to vote when you are 17, but you can't vote until you turn 18.

Once you are 18, it is compulsory for all Australian citizens to enrol and vote in state and federal (national) government elections. If you are enrolled and don’t vote, you will be fined unless you have a good reason for not voting.

In Western Australia, it is not compulsory to vote in local government elections.

When can I make a will?

When you are 18 you can make your own will.

More information

Internet safety and cyber bullying
Leaving school
Getting a passport

You can enrol online at:


Reviewed: 21 March 2024


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.