Regional rugby clubs stand strong against domestic violence
As community service announcements rejecting domestic violence are broadcast on regional New South Wales television this month, Broken Hill Saints club president Paul Kemp couldn’t be prouder.
The Saints are one of 22 regional rugby league clubs that have taken part in their own local announcement to help spread the word that domestic violence will not be tolerated.
The announcements are the latest initiative of Tackling Violence, an Aboriginal-led domestic violence education and prevention program supported by the NSW and Australian Governments that uses regional rugby league clubs to deliver anti domestic violence messages.
“Domestic violence is a big issue in a lot of communities,” Paul said.
“It’s a difficult thing to talk about, particularly with men. I think the best thing about this program is it’s putting it out there, it’s in people’s faces, exposed and everyone’s very much aware of it.”
This year more than 900 men have signed a code of conduct that penalises players for domestic violence offences. They have also attended a domestic violence education workshop and many have featured in a local community service announcement against domestic violence.
The Saints have been part of the Tackling Violence program for more than three years, which Paul said made a big difference to the club and the local community.
“I think it shows we’re breaking down the barriers here in working with government and the police around all these issues and we’re taking a no-nonsense stance in regards to this. That certainly will change people’s attitudes. If you want to play sport, you can’t use violence to solve problems.”
Paul says standing strong against domestic violence has also allowed the players to be better role models for their younger fans.
“The players go out there, the young ones see them and spectators see them; they see how they conduct themselves and what they do on and off the field.
“So we’re not only getting the message to our players, we’re getting it to the supporters and most importantly to our young ones, because they’re going to be the next generation.”Tweet