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Newly arrived Iranian men sign up to prevent violence against women

September 30 2015 By Hannah Grant, media relations officer, Our Watch

Newly arrived young Iranian men will today graduate from ‘Team Respect’, a respectful relationship soccer program, facilitated by Our Watch local partners in Whittlesea, Victoria.

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer, Paul Linossier, said the Iranian community in Melbourne demonstrated real leadership in putting their hands up to develop this program.

“Team Respect combined weekly education sessions with facilitated indoor soccer play,” said Mr Linossier.

“The inclusion of soccer in the program is important because positive values within sport, such as participation and ‘fair play’ extend to the promotion of respectful relationships, gender equality, inclusion and non-violence,” he said.

“The Melbourne City Football Club supported the program by providing a training clinic and hosting the program’s graduation ceremony.”

Facilitator Omid Sorkhi said program content is adapted from the Department of Education’s ‘Building Respectful Relationships’ curriculum and adjusted to include a settlement and legal education issues. 

“Settlement can be a difficult process, and it is important to give young people the chance to learn about laws and expectations in Australia. This means talking about respect for women, new culture, rules and consequences,” said Mr Sorkhi. 

“Like many Australians, at the beginning of this course many of the young men believed domestic violence is a private issue and hadn’t thought too much about traditional gender roles. 

“At the end, all felt confident to talk about family violence and sexual assault, and understood the laws. They also understood that everybody has a responsibility to challenge domestic violence,” he said.

“Sport helps to stop violence because it teaches players respect for other people, and that this is the same respect we should show to all people. It’s also a good way to engage young men in this topic.

“I, an Iranian man who is strongly against any kind of violence, can encourage and model respectful beliefs and attitudes to the young men, and now these men can be role models for others in the Iranian community,” said Mr Sorkhi.

Team Respect is one of two pilot programs where Our Watch has partnered with local community organisations to deliver prevention of violence against women programs with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

“All women and children, regardless of cultural identity, ethnicity, religion or language, have the right to live without the fear or reality of violence, however women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities can face specific challenges,” said Mr Linossier.

Team Respect, a component of the Hamdel project, was delivered by Whittlesea Community Connections, The Salvation Army Crossroads and Women’s Health In the North.

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.”

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 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.