Rugby club takes leadership - 6 August 2014
Poverty Bay Rugby Club developed a comprehensive family violence awareness programme after a player was convicted of serious offending.
"We thought we could make a positive difference on a local level to raise the awareness of family violence", said former Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union CEO Neil Alton.
"There is no doubt family violence is a serious issue and with the help of some local role models we wanted to get the message out to young people and their whanau that family violence is unacceptable and help is available.
"One of our ex-representative players crossed the line and committed some very serious offences. He and his family will suffer the consequences of his actions for the rest of their lives. This made it clear to me that if there is one, then there could be others and the only way to stop it from happening is to take a proactive stance and get the message out to our membership. We hope we can change some attitudes".
An awareness programme was developed involving:
- talks to representative team members about showing leadership in their peer groups
- club representatives visiting schools wearing It's not OK branded gear and speaking about positive behaviours to students
- highlighting It's not OK messages at after match speeches and prizegivings
- distributing a DVD produced by Tairawhiti Men Against Violence to players
- using the It's not OK logo on the club website, in weekly columns and email signatures
- producing a mini booklet about family violence using club members as role models
- local newspapers carried stories about the awareness raising programme.The club's under 14 team's first trip away to a tournament in Taupo became a mini awareness raising programme of its own.
The boys wore their It's not OK t shirts throughout the tournament. On the bus trip they listened to Neil Alton speak about the club's partnership with the Campaign and received a copy of the specially produced mini booklet. They watched Campaign TV ads and a DVD produced by local men.
The club established relationships with the local family violence network, local newspaper and local police which were invaluable.
"I see the horrific consequences of family violence through my work and I think this is a great idea, that through rugby we can tell people about the issue and when needed encourage them to get help", said Jamie Hutana, Poverty Bay Representative Player, local Policeman and Role Model for the Its not OK programme.
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