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National Sporting Codes Team Up to Prevent Violence Against Women

17 June 2016 at 1:12 pm
Wendy Williams
Australia’s four major national sporting codes have teamed up with Not for Profit, Our Watch, to call for an equal playing field and prevent violence against women.

Wendy Williams | 17 June 2016 at 1:12 pm


National Sporting Codes Team Up to Prevent Violence Against Women
17 June 2016 at 1:12 pm

Australia’s four major national sporting codes have teamed up with Not for Profit, Our Watch, to call for an equal playing field and prevent violence against women.

National Sporting Codes Team Up to Prevent Violence Against Women

The Australian Football League (AFL), Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Netball Australia and the National Rugby League (NRL) signed a leadership statement on Friday committing to high-impact and systemic actions to prevent violence against women.

The actions include increasing women’s participation in sport and ensuring policies and practices, both internally and externally, are based on respect and equality.

As part of the campaign the group has released a video with player ambassadors from each code speaking out against violence and inequality.


In the video, the players demand “equal pay, equal support and equal media coverage” in sport.

“We have a responsibility to change our culture, to be respectful and inclusive, be a respectful role model for our current and future generations, to achieve gender equality, to create an equal playing field, for men and women on and off the field,” the players said.

“Women’s place in sport is right alongside the men, female athletes should have the same opportunities as male athletes.

“Ending violence against women begins with respect, and equal opportunities for men and women.”

Our Watch chief executive officer Mary Barry said the sporting community had a “huge opportunity to play an important role in preventing violence against women and their children”.

“Sporting codes, clubs and organisations bring together large numbers of people of all ages and backgrounds and are a ready-made environment to promote women’s participation and opportunities to eliminate gender-based discrimination and violence-supportive attitudes,” Barry said.

“I commend the AFL, NRL, ARU and Netball Australia for using their collective influence to assist in preventing the high rates of violence against women in Australia.”

The four sporting codes will work with Our Watch over the next two years to implement and evaluate effective interventions that sport can take to prevent violence against women.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said everyone had a role to play to end violence against women and children, and the sporting community was not exempt.

“It is important that sport, which has such a big influence on our society, uses this influence to advocate for respect, gender equality, inclusion and non-violence on and off the field,” McLachlan said.

Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer said sporting role models played a significant role in shaping the attitudes of young people.

“Sport is a big part of our culture and our athletes are heroes to many Australians,” Palmer said.

“It is therefore crucial that athletes model the kind of fair and respectful behaviour needed to ensure we have an Australia free from disrespect and violence against women.”

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the code was proud to partner with Our Watch and commit to accelerating behavioural change and education to prevent violence against women.

“The NRL will continue to use its voice to ensure that as a code and as communities, we stand up, speak out and take action against domestic violence of any kind,” Greenberg said.

“Our players, coaches and ambassadors will continue to deliver our Voice Against Violence message, supported by Our Watch, throughout communities and we are confident that together, we can make a positive change and end domestic violence.”   

ARU CEO Bill Pulver said everyone from managers to coaches and players “can and should do their bit to prevent violence against women”.

“Whether on the field, in the office or at the pub, simple things like telling your mates/colleagues that sexist jokes are not funny can make a difference to the culture that currently trivialises violence against women,” Pulver said.

“The ARU stands beside the AFL, NRL and Netball Australia to call on the sporting community to take a stand against violence against women and gender inequality.”

Our Watch also welcomed a Coalition Government’s commitment of $20 million over three years to prevent violence against women and their children in Australia.

Mary Barry said investment in both prevention and response services is critical if we are to end the abuse of 1 in 4 women in Australia,

“(The) announcement by the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, is an important commitment to Our Watch and to primary prevention,” she said.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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