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Respect Starts Here: Promoting respect on and off the field

Respect Starts Here; Promoting respect on and off the field 

Respect Starts Here: Promoting respect on and off the field is a pilot primary prevention initiative in collaboration with The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre (The SAFV Centre) and local Barwon football and netball club, Geelong West Giants (GWGFNC) made possible through the Survive and Thrive Grant from Give Where You Live (GWYL).  

Working from a whole of sport approach, The SAFV Centre engaged with executive, players, members, coaches and key personnel from GWGFNC to address the key drivers of violence against women. We implemented change strategies such as gender equality and prevention initiatives that challenged the norms, structures, attitudes and behaviours that underpin violence against women through the delivery of a series of workshops and presentations, including a resource pack, that reinforced our key messaging. 

Why target sport settings? 

Historically football clubs were set up with the needs of men and boys at the forefront and women were grossly underrepresented.  

In 2017 with the inaugural AFLW competition, there was a 76% increase in females participating in community football, and since then females consistently lead in football participation rates now making up 30% of Australian Rules players. With this there has been a significant increase in female umpires, female key coaching roles and females taking on leadership roles in sport settings. 

Sport is an integral part to Australian culture and part of the everyday lives of many individuals, families and communities. Sport and recreation has been identified as a priority setting with high potential for impact by Our Watch in their National Change the Story Framework and at a state level of Victoria’s Free from Violence action plan 2022-25. 

Sporting communities bring together a large cross section of people from different backgrounds and age groups, and can play a key role in promoting gender equality, calling out unhealthy attitudes and behaviours and reinforcing respectful relationships.

What did we do? 

The Primary Prevention team worked with 88 young people from the netball and football teams aged between 14-18 to design, develop and deliver a series of interactive workshops co-facilitated with the City of Geelong Youth Development team. The workshops focused on preventing sexual and family violence by increasing awareness and understanding of what sexual and family violence is, understanding what the key drivers are and how to promote gender equality and healthy, safe respectful relationships.  

The SAFV Centre also facilitated a series of presentations directed to 119 senior players and members in the netball and football sections with similar workshops and presentations.

We also designed and created a selection of resources that the club can continue to use that reinforce the key messaging and imagery that was presented in the workshops and presentations including posters, social media tiles, wallet help card and fridge magnets.  

A key element of the workshops and presentations was the inclusion of an active bystander intervention strategy branded ‘The 5 Ds of Bystander Action’. This strategy empowers a person to be able to action 5 different interventions to call out disrespectful comments and behaviour when they see or hear it depending on their safety, the other persons safety, their confidence and the situation.

The 5 Ds of Bystander Action include:  

  • Direct – Call out disrespectful behaviour directly either with your voice, online or using your body language depending on the situation.
  • Distract – Shift the conversation to distract
  • Delay – Check in with the person who is experiencing the disrespect and see what you can do to support them
  • Delegate – Ask someone like your coach or a friend to support you to take action if you have witnessed disrespectful behaviour
  • Document – Collect any information such as screenshots to support the person in case they wish to report the situation

Evaluation of the initiative

 We are pleased that from data collected, including post workshop and presentation interviews, we found there was strong engagement and understanding of the key objectives of the initiative. There was a significant increase in the understanding of being an active bystander and participants felt more confident to intervene if they witness disrespectful behaviour once we had delivered the workshop and presentations.

Overwhelmingly, most participants reported the 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention as a key learning when asked this open-ended question in the participant survey. The 5 Ds of Bystander Action, although a simple tool, empowers people to be able to call out disrespect and sexism when they see or hear it. Direct feedback from participants included:

  • “The 5 Ds are a powerful tool. As men, we have a responsibility to call this out”
  • “Knowing what to do (other than calling someone out) is so helpful and it makes me feel more confident in my ability to deal with gender inequality”  
  • “I’m pretty shy and don’t like conflict but the tools shared tonight make me feel more comfortable to intervene”
  • “It gave me strategies and confidence to step in now”
  • “I learnt what it means to be an active bystander and how I can intervene using 5 different approaches”

More information

For more information about this initiative, please email [email protected]

 

The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land we stand on. We are committed to working toward creating a community where all people indigenous and non-indigenous are safe, connected and empowered to live well. The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre recognises the diverse needs of our community and we ensure our services are inclusive of all children, young people and their families including those who are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who identify as LGBTIQ and persons living with disability. We work collaboratively with people and partner organisations who also support our diverse client group. Interpreter and translator services are available to all our clients upon request.

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