Cronulla-Sutherland District junior rugby league players participated in the NRL’s Voice Against Violence program at Sharks Leagues Club on Monday night.
Sharks Have Heart worked with the NRL Community team to put on the program which educates the young players on domestic violence and their role as future change makers.
Voice Against Violence was delivered by former Raider Alan Tongue, with Sharks NRL squad member Kyle Flanagan assisting the under 16’s through each of their learning and practical exercises on the night.
Along with getting involved with all the activities, Flanagan helped to deliver some of the theory-based learning and spoke with the players about being a role model for their peers.
The theme of the night was clear.
“Violence against women is preventable. We’ve found the cure and it’s you,” Tongue said.
Throughout the night he instilled in the players that they are the “greatest influencing factor for themselves, their families and their communities” in the fight to end domestic violence.
“It only takes one voice – your voice,” Tongue emphasised to the group.
The program was entirely interactive, with a combination of practical exercises and theoretical learning. The first half of the night saw Tongue use footy drills to build the players skills in communication and leadership, showing them how they can use these skills to combat domestic violence and be an example for their peers and the community.
The players were often awed into silence upon hearing the rates of domestic violence occurring in Australia.
One such instance was after the players were asked to form a group of 4 and think of 4 women they loved. After doing so Tongue informed the players that 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner.
Asked why it was so important that the NRL delivers programs such as these, a representative of Voice Against Violence said;
“We have the platform and influence through our game and our players to be able to influence the next generation to drive positive social change in our communities, it is so important for us to use that platform for good’. She said that Voice Against Violence will enable its participants to ‘drive change in their schools, communities and as they grow up -their male peers.”
Voice Against Violence is targeted to young players aged 15 to 16. This year after being approached about the program by Sharks Have Heart, the President of the Cronulla-Sutherland District junior rugby league Nathan Waugh made the program compulsory for the districts under 16’s teams.
Mr Waugh said the program aligns with his aim of transitioning the under 16’s from boys to men, finding the program so valuable that he plans to have his board of directors, presidents and secretaries undertake it as well.
Voice Against Violence has been using rugby league to promote positive messages in its workshops since 2015. The program commenced last night and will continue to be delivered to remaining clubs within the CSDJRL over the next fortnight at Sharks.
For more information on Voice Against Violence, click here: https://www.nrl.com/community/voice-against-violence/
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