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AFL Chairman invites Our Watch to address club CEOs and Presidents

June 27 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager

The AFL Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick has invited Our Watch to present at the next AFL Presidents and CEO’s meeting in September on the prevention of violence against women and their children.

Mr Fitzpatrick invited Our Watch CEO Mary Barry to address the Commission in July in order to discuss the issues regarding the prevention of violence against women, and how football can use its influence to affect change.

Mr Fitzpatrick also accepted Ms Barry’s request for the AFL to hold a roundtable with club presidents to discuss the commitment the league has made to Our Watch, better understand the links between sexism, inequality and violence against women, and consider the actions every club can take to change the story.

AFL Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick said, “Last week’s comments show how much more work there is to be done. The Commission is determined that our code be part of the solution to violence against women, and we want our partnership with Our Watch to deliver real and measurable change.”

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and Ms Barry will meet today to continue to map out a plan of action for the AFL’s commitment to prevent violence against women. 

On Friday 17th June, the AFL – along with the Australian Rugby Union, Netball Australia and the National Rugby League – signed on to work with Our Watch to take action to prevent violence against women. The AFL has been working with Our Watch for nearly 12 months on new education and awareness programs across the industry. 

The inappropriate and unacceptable comments made by Eddie Maguire, James Brayshaw and Danny Frawley on Triple M about Caroline Wilson created a storm of protest and national conversation about the role of everyday sexism and misogyny in creating a culture that accepts violence against women. 

Ms Barry said “Violence against women is no joke.  There is clear evidence to show that sexism and misogynistic attitudes create a culture where violence against women is tolerated.”

“What the last week has shown is that Australians will no longer accept comments that trivialise or jokes that condone violence against women.  Our culture is changing for the better and no one, including the sporting community, can afford to be left behind,” Ms Barry said.

Ms Barry said, “Prevention work is about far more than simply raising awareness. Everything is on the table here, including participation by women at all levels of the sport, including the clubrooms and the boardrooms.

It’s also about making sure that the policies and practices of the organisation reflect expectations – and ensuring that there are consequences if they aren’t met”.

Media contact

For enquiries or further information: Hannah Grant, Our Watch, mobile 0448 844 930, email Hannah.Grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. 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.”

Access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children.

About Our Watch 

Our Watch’s (previously the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children) purpose is to raise awareness and engage the community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.
Our Watch was conceived of and brought into existence in 2013 by the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Victoria. The Northern Territory, South Australian, Tasmanian, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory governments have also since become members of the organisation.
Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead.