An anti-domestic violence initiative driven by a local rugby league club is being credited for a drop in incidences of domestic violence in Midwest Queensland.
The multi-award winning campaign Domestic Violence—it’s not our game will kick off its 4th season today with a launch event in Cloncurry, a township located 766 kilometres west of Townsville.
The anti-domestic violence campaign is a joint initiative of the Normanton Building Safer Communities Action Team (BSCAT) and the Normanton Stingers Rugby League Club. This year the campaign has been given a boost with three new teams from Queensland’s Midwest League signing up: Doomadgee, Cloncurry and Hughenden.
Midwest League President and coach of the Normanton Stingers, Paul Stephens, said “The campaign has led to a real cultural shift in attitudes to domestic violence and big drops in domestic violence incidents in the Normanton community. Because of their strong and public stance against domestic violence, the players have become role models and if you ask any kid in our schools what they want to be when they grow up, just about everyone says, ‘A Stinger!’.”
Domestic Violence—it’s not our game has won 3 state and 2 national awards including a 2009 National Award for Excellence and 2008 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award.
The campaign has also proved to be an inspiration to others with 14 NSW league teams, two Kiwi teams and an Aussie Rules team in Victoria, creating similar campaigns based on the ‘Domestic Violence—it’s not our game’ model. However, a lack of funding nearly saw the campaign fold until the Federal and Queensland governments came to the rescue with much needed funding which included money for an academic study to measure the campaign’s benefits to the community.
“We were very relieved when the funding came through from Federal Minister Jenny Macklin and State Minister Phil Reeves because without it, the campaign would have struggled,” said Paul Stephens.
“Domestic violence is a problem that tragically affects all communities but some are just better at hiding it than others. Normanton is proud that our small community of 1500 people in the far north of Australia chose not to hide and that we’ve inspired other communities to follow.”
At the end of the 2010 footy season, all teams involved in promoting the anti-domestic violence message will be invited to participate in the inaugural Domestic Violence—it’s not our game competition to reinforce the message that ‘domestic violence is not the norm’, while also raising funds for future activities.
Photo credit: Carpentaria Shire Council