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Sports Clubs to Play in Support of Family Violence Prevention

Wycheproof V Charlton Football Netball and Hockey Clubs
Fixture Date May 5th

As Wycheproof’s pioneering family violence prevention project “A Mount of Prevention” reaches it’s last quarter, project officer Alan Thomson is building new partnerships in local sports clubs to raise awareness of family violence and how to stop it before it happens.

On Saturday, May 5, the football, netball, and hockey clubs of Wycheproof and Charlton will play a ‘cup round’ in Wycheproof to demonstrate the enormous influence sports clubs can have for the whole community when advocating for respect, fair play and non-violence on and off the field.

“This ‘cup round’ is for everybody in this Shire and it will reflect the values and principles of clubs and local residents who have actively supported this local project and who reject sexism, discrimination, and violence.” Thomson said. “The North Central Leagues and local sports clubs of Charlton and Wycheproof have consistently shown leadership and commitment to learning about a serious issue we know affects many women, children, and men.”

In the past five years, there has been a 195% increase in the number of family violence incidents attended by Victoria Police in Buloke, with children witnessing violence in 51% of these cases; a figure that hasn’t decreased since 2008 and is 20% higher than the state average.

These are statistics that can’t be ignored, and while the clubs and towns of Wycheproof and Charlton are not being targeted because they have a specific problem with family violence, these statistics in Buloke do indicate a need for prevention activities to be in local settings.

“It keeps happening because people say nothing and are afraid of small town repercussions.” One participant of the project said, recognising this need for prevention activities throughout the region.
Another agreed, explaining, “There is a need to change culture as people may be more ready to take sides or downplay violence against women.”

Research clearly shows that violence against women is a serious and prevalent issue, with women being predominantly identified as the victims of family violence. Overwhelmingly this violence is perpetrated by men, with males being identified as the perpetrators of violence in 77% of incidents of family violence attended by Victoria Police.

“This doesn’t mean that 77% of males are violent. What prevalence means is that 77% of the time it is a male perpetrating that violence and that is very different to saying 77% of males are violent.’ Thomson explains.

“Most men are never violent or abusive towards women,” Thomson continued, explaining the importance of these men in recognising their role in violence prevention; “Respectful men need to stand safely side by side with women and girls and support them as equals.”

“One question I’m always asked is, ‘So what about men as victims?”, Thomson says. “Any violence and abuse is not acceptable no matter who is the perpetrator and who is the victim. However for men, the types of violence experienced compared to women is very different. This isn’t to negate the experience of male victims, but rather stating an honest truth. While men are victims of violence, it is more likely to be at the hands of another man.”  Research shows that 1 in 2 men have experienced physical violence, but also indicates that overwhelmingly, the perpetrator is male, with 95% of both male and female victims of violence identifying a male as the perpetrator.

And how to end the issue of family violence? “This issue isn’t going to end until we take a serious look at how our culture produces some men who think it’s acceptable to use violence, abuse and harassment against women in order to control them.” Thomson says.

“We know sports clubs have a huge effect on the quality of life for many Australians. Sporting clubs that deliberately promote and embed respect, notions of fair play and non-violence through codes of conduct and leadership initiatives such as this ‘cup round’ on May 5 lead the way forward to a culture where everybody is treated as equal and violence against women is much less likely.”

Local residents in Wycheproof have been coming together to provide oversight of the project and build their confidence and skills to speak up against family violence. The project has helped them to recognise the importance and need for this project in the community.

“Violence against women has an enormous flow on affect in small communities and we want communities to remain strong and women are an integral part of that.” One participant said. Another agreed, adding, “Preventing violence against women results in better health outcomes for women and it’s better for the social fabric of rural communities.”

Alan said, ‘We are hoping for a big crowd on May 5 to come along to Wycheproof and stand alongside these clubs who are against all forms of Family Violence.”

A Mount of Prevention is a 12 month primary prevention project by Wycheproof Community Resource Centre, funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and The Office of Prevention and Women’s Equality.

For more information on A Mount of Prevention or to find out more about the project’s community advisory group, contact Project Officer Alan Thomson on 0458 733 866 or follow us on Facebook www.facebook/amountofprevention

 
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