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“In our club, it's not OK to hit women”: Orange United Sports Club's pledge to tackle violence

September 28, 2023

By Peter Holmes

For three years Orange United Sports Club has been part of the state government’s Tackling Violence program, which uses men’s involvement in rugby league as a platform to change attitudes and behaviours towards family and domestic violence.

Minutes from the Orange Health Liaison Committee meeting on August 1, 2023, contained in the latest Orange City Council papers, stated: “2023 is the first year the Club had to work through a Domestic Violence incident. The Club was able to provide support to both members, ensuring Orange United was a safe place for both members to continue playing sport.”

The report also revealed that there were “two incidents of violence on field due to racial vilification”.

These incidents are required to be reported to Tackling Violence, along with strategies the club has taken to help reduce aggressive behaviour, according to the papers.

“The Tackling Violence program has provided the club the skills and training to reduce and support players in violent situations,” the committee report stated.

Tackling Violence is a NSW government “community education, early intervention and prevention program funded by Women NSW and delivered by ECAV (Education Centre Against Violence)”.

The program is underpinned by a code of conduct, “which commits rugby league clubs and their individual representatives to refrain from perpetrating family and domestic violence”.

The three “expectations” of the code of conduct are:

1. In our club, we don’t talk badly about women;

2. In our club, it’s not OK to hit women;

3. In our club, it’s important women are treated equally to men, with respect and dignity.

“By establishing social norms that it’s not OK to talk badly about or hit women, and that women are equal to men, rugby league clubs go a long way in establishing a platform for behavioural and attitudinal changes around women and Domestic and Family Violence,” states Tackling Violence.

Clubs also participate in family and domestic violence education workshops and support broader community awareness campaigns through social media and other communication channels.

Orange City Council is a partner of Orange United Sports Club.

The Tackling Violence program provides resources, phone support and workshops to sports clubs to help them address potential violence.

The online course delivers education and information on the following topics:

  • What is Domestic / Family violence?

  • What are the common beliefs about Domestic / Family violence?

  • What are the impacts of Domestic / Family violence?

  • How to respond to disclosure of Domestic/ Family violence;

  • How to support and access support services for victims and users of violence.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of Domestic / Family violence and their prevalence;

  • Understanding that attitudinal change required to appropriately address and understand the experiences of those who experience Domestic / Family Violence and hold those who use violence to account;

  • Understanding the immediate and long-term impacts of violence and understand the experience of those who have experienced this violence;

  • Responding to a disclosure of Domestic violence in a way that provides safety and support to the whole family;

  • Identifying and engaging with local services and DVLO’s and working collaboratively to support the safety of the victim and the accountability of the user of violence.


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