Responding to increased risk of family violence on grand final weekend [Images included]

No to Violence | White Ribbon | 1800RESPECT | Respect Victoria | Our Watch

‘Play our part’ – Family domestic violence services and supporters to encourage Australians to play their part against violence during Grand Final Weekend

An expected spike in family violence over the Australian Football League and National Rugby League Grand Finals weekend (24 and 25 October) has led to Australia’s leading domestic violence services joining forces to raise awareness that support is available.

No to Violence, White Ribbon Australia, 1800RESPECT, Our Watch and Respect Victoria have come together with a range of high-profile advocates to encourage all Australians to ‘Play our Part’ in reducing and ultimately preventing family and domestic violence across our communities.

Data from across Australia shows an increase in family violence incidents attended by Police on AFL and NRL Grand Final weekends according to data collected by Australian crime statistics organisations and Police in 2019.

· New South Wales experienced a 27.91% increase in family violence police incidents on NRL Grand Final Day, and a 16.28% increase on AFL Grand Final day.

· Victoria experienced a 15.11% increase in family incidents Victoria on AFL Grand Final day, and an 11.56% increase on NRL Grand Final Day.

· Family arguments/family Violence incidents in Tasmania on AFL Grand Final Day are 35% higher than on other days, according to a decade of Tasmanian Police.

Jacqui Watt, Chief Executive of No to Violence said whilst Grand Final events are a day of excitement and celebration for many; it is a dangerous time for others with increased rates of domestic and family violence incidents across Australia.

“We all in this together, we may have competitive rivalries between our teams but all of us need to be on the same side on against family and domestic violence and play our part in creating a safe future for all.”

Play our Part highlights that the number of people who experience family violence every year could fill the stands of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium (Melbourne), the GABBA (Brisbane), Adelaide Oval, Optus Stadium (Perth), Tio Stadium (Darwin), Manuka Stadium (Canberra) and Bellerive Stadium (Hobart) combined.

“Each year, over 300,000 people experience family violence, and the devastating reality is that this number of people would struggle to fit in the empty seats of these stadiums,” says Ms Watt.

“This is why it’s important to raise awareness of supports available for people to reach out to if they are experiencing or using violence, wherever they are in Australia. If you are experiencing violence you can call 1800RESPECT. Or if you think you are risk of using family violence, call the Men’s Referral Service.”

“Sport is such an integral part of Australian culture because people learn and replicate certain attitudes, behaviours and social norms either as spectators, supporters, players or employees,” says Brad Chilcott, Executive Director of White Ribbon Australia.

“That is why it is so important that on and off the field sport continues to take a zero tolerance to domestic and family violence and sets positive community standards about respect and equality.”

Organisations and advocates involved want to remind all Australians that everyone has a part to play in ending family violence.

1800RESPECT General Manager Paul Moger said it doesn’t matter if your team loses, you’re frustrated or you find yourself drinking more, it is inexcusable to use violence.

“Sport is engrained in the Australian way of life, it should bring communities together and not create an environment where people are at greater risk of being physically, emotionally or financially harmed”, says Mr Moger.

“We can all get a bit excited watching the most anticipated footy match of the year, but there is never an excuse for violence or abuse. We know from the research that family and domestic violence is not caused by the disappointment of your team losing, a few too many beers or the stress of a tense match,” says Patty Kinnersly, Chief Executive of Our Watch.

“Although these factors may exacerbate the violence, it is driven by gender inequality and the perpetrator’s need for power and control over their victim.”

“There are things we can all do to play our part to reduce family violence. It is up to all of us individuals, workplaces, all levels of government and organisations – to do something in the face of disrespect towards women and create a future where we are all equal, respected and safe.”

The ‘Play our Part’ campaign also aims to raise awareness of family and domestic violence prevention and early intervention support services in Australia, as they work to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to men’s violence against women.

“The more people choose to ‘call it out’ when a friend, colleague or family member acts or speaks disrespectfully about a woman, the less that behaviour will be seen as ‘normal’ and will eventually stop altogether,” said Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry.

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/Public Release.