Our Watch partners with AFL

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Author: Our Watch media team
Posted: 2 May, 2024
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    The AFL is pleased to announce a partnership with Our Watch, Australia’s leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and children, to deliver face-to-face educational training to all AFL Clubs.

    Alongside the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy which focuses on creating a safe and inclusive environment for women and girls, men and boys, and people of diverse genders, in the AFL, the educational workshops will be rolled out to all AFL and AFLW teams, with 13 AFL teams undertaking the training already.

    The training provides AFL and AFLW players with an understanding of the link between gender inequality and violence against women; the role of sport in promoting gender equality, and what players can do to be active allies including taking action when they see or hear disrespect.

    AFL Executive General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch said the partnership with Our Watch is important for our players and the broader community.

    “The AFL is committed to promoting gender equality and ensuring a safe, fair and inclusive environment for everyone, including women and girls,” said Ms Hosch.

    “Collectively we have our 18 clubs and wider industry coming together this weekend across all nine matches to stand in unity against gender-based violence and to raise awareness for this widespread national issue.

    “In addition to this, we have a responsibility as leaders of our sport to ensure that players are educated, supported and provided with the tools to understand and develop respectful relationships and understand how to be active bystanders for gender equity. The training reinforces we are all responsible for treating women and girls with respect.

    “We are proud to have partnered with Our Watch to deliver this crucial and important information to the playing groups.

    “Our Watch has a specific focus on understanding gender equality work in sport, so they are well-placed to deliver appropriate and sector-specific training.

    “Previously, AFL and AFLW players have undertaken online education on these complex issues, but the independent face-to-face workshops are allowing further engagement amongst the playing groups to ensure that players are supported and encouraged to build healthy relationships and act appropriately.

    “AFL and AFLW players are role models for thousands of people and we felt it was important for us to take a whole of sport approach to this crucial piece of education and work.”

    Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said it was fantastic that the AFL and its players were taking a lead to better understand violence against women, the attitudes that drive it, and to be part of the change.

    “Preventing sexism and inequality in sport is about cultural change, changing the rules by which we play, and the environments we operate in.

    “It’s about extending principles of equality and fairness beyond the field into the boardroom, the coach’s box, the stands, the change rooms, and the media.

    “Based on the statistics alone, there will be AFL and AFLW players in every team that have witnessed or experience violence against women.

    “Players are in a unique position to lead the change in attitudes that both create a fair and inclusive sport and help end violence against women in the broader community.

    “This weekend’s silent tributes send a strong message from our sporting stars to the men who use violence, that violence against women has no place in our community.”

    Essendon player Nick Hind said: “Family violence must stop. As AFL players and clubs, we have a chance to amplify this issue further into the spotlight so we can collectively influence a better future for our sisters, daughters, mothers and cousins.

    “We must all speak up and magnify the call ‘enough is enough’ and this weekend will be a great step as all 18 AFL clubs unite together against gender-based violence.

    “The introduction of Our Watch is important and its necessary. The AFL community can help create change and we have a long history of getting behind meaningful causes. There is no greater cause than to make women safe, to promote equality and to practice respect. We can lead by example. We must lead by example.”

    Carlton AFLW player Harriet Cordner expressed the need for a collective response to combat gender-based violence.

    “This has been a serious problem in our society for a long time, to have a women killed every four days in 2024 is devastating and it has to change,” Cordner said.

    “Change occurs through raising awareness and through education, so it is terrific the AFL has partnered with Our Watch because as leaders in our community, we are fortunate to have a platform to advocate in this space.

    “As a Primary School teacher myself and having implemented our club’s Road to Respects schools program, which has been created closely with Our Watch, I know firsthand the crucial role they play in the prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.”

    Brisbane Lions player Jarryd Lyons said: “As AFL and AFLW players we have a crucially important role to play in helping put an end to violence against women and children,” Lyons said.

    “As role models we have a vital responsibility to use our voices and our platforms to do whatever we can to call out unacceptable behaviour and have a positive influence.

    “I really applaud the AFL for being proactive in partnering with Our Watch because it not only educates us players, but it empowers us to make a difference.

    “The training workshops for the 18 AFL and AFLW playing groups have been tailored for delivery to them specifically. The impact of the training will be evaluated and ongoing programs considered on reflection of the evaluation.”

    Hawthorn player Chad Wingard said: “There is absolutely no place in society for violence against women, we must all work together to put an end to these sickening and senseless attacks.

    “As players and leaders in the AFL, we must all stand up and speak out against this violence, be the voice for those who cannot be heard and help enact change.

    “I applaud the football industry for being proactive in this space, we have to be better and do whatever we can to create a safer future for women, everywhere.

    Media contact

    Please contact media@ourwatch.org.au or call 0448 844 930.

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

    1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family, and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, chat online via www.1800RESPECT.org.au, or text 0458 737 732.   Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491 

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

    Our Watch

    Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children. Read more about Our Watch here.