Most children polled in an Against Child Abuse survey displayed a lack of awareness and understanding about family violence. Only 40 per cent of the 2,302 upper primary children surveyed would ask for help the first time family violence occurred. Sixty-three per cent said help would only be required when injuries arose, while 12 per cent said they would not call for help, believing the situation would fix itself. Half of the group thought the phrase 'family violence' meant physical violence only and disregarded verbal violence and other threats. More than 10 per cent did not know which organisation handled family violence issues. About 43 per cent would keep silent when facing conflicts or difficulties; 24 per cent would react by shouting; 21 per cent would throw things; and 9 per cent fight back. When treated badly, 22 per cent of the children surveyed said they would ignore it and 18 per cent would hit back. A further 22 per cent would keep it to themselves because of shyness. About 63 per cent of the respondents had witnessed arguments between their parents. Eighteen per cent said they saw their parents physically fighting. Of those who witnessed family violence, 16 per cent would protect their mother, and 8.9 per cent would fight back; 12.4 lost appetite and 11.9 per cent had nightmares. Nearly one-third of those who witnessed violence blamed themselves for it. About 25 per cent felt hopeless and frightened. Fourteen per cent said the conflicts they observed were related to disputes over child-rearing. More than 90 per cent said they had been left alone at home, while 37 per cent had experienced family accidents. The most common injuries were caused by falls (83 per cent), cuts (60 per cent) and crushed appendages (44 per cent). Priscilla Lui, director of Against Child Abuse, said the survey showed most of the children had not yet developed a clear understanding of family violence. 'This constitutes a threat to child development and child safety. Government and relevant parties should be proactive in all aspects of prevention and remedial works of family violence and to attend to children's needs,' she said. 'Society should allow zero tolerance to family violence and stop the snowball effect of violence on our children.' The group urges school and social service organisations to educate children about family violence and to publicise the issue. It also wants the government to establish guidelines on family violence.