Victorians asked to tackle gender inequality together this finals season

Sport doesn’t cause violence, but gender inequality does.

Respect Victoria is asking Victorians to call out gender inequality on and off the field this finals season to prevent family violence.

Research and historic data shows that police and support services often see an increase in family violence on the days surrounding large events like the AFL and NRL Grand Finals. 

With Victorians likely to be spending the Grand Final weekend at home this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Respect Victoria is concerned about a compounding effect. 

Data released in September this year shows that Victoria is facing its highest reported rates of family violence in history, with a 6.7% increase in reports to police over the past year. 

“We know that the Grand Final long weekend often sees an increase in reports of family violence. Sports fans, teams, players, communities and sporting bodies have an opportunity to change that together,” said Respect Victoria CEO Tracey Gaudry. 

Respect Victoria is calling on the community to address violence where it begins, and to use sport as a vehicle for change.
“It’s important to address the drivers of family violence through a sports lens,” Ms Gaudry said. 

“Family violence can be driven by different forms of discrimination, including sexism, racism, ableism and homophobia,” Ms Gaudry said. 

“We know that sporting culture can reinforce different forms of discrimination at a societal, structural, community and individual level.”

“But sport has also proven that it can also help us to break free of harmful stereotypes, to foster inclusivity, and to challenge outdated ideas of masculinity.” Ms Gaudry added.

A recent report from Jesuit Social Services found that young men who adhere to outdated masculine stereotypes are more likely to use violence against women. 

“Our Man Box research has shed new light on the social pressures that young Australian men experience to be a ‘real man’ and the impact this can have on their wellbeing, behaviours and the safety of our wider community,” said Executive Director of The Men’s Project at Jesuit Social Services, Matt Tyler. 

“When we actively model respect and equality, everybody wins, on and off the field,” said Mr Tyler.  

Respect Victoria is calling on sports organisations and clubs, players, fans and communities to address gender inequality on the field and at home. 
“Calling out gender inequality can look like challenging a sexist joke, pulling a friend aside to chat about concerning behaviour, and holding your club, team, or friends to account,” Ms Gaudry said. 

“Sport doesn’t cause violence, but gender inequality does.”

Media Contact: Chloe Papas (Senior Adviser Campaigns and Media) email 

Support pathways

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000. 

If you are experiencing or at risk of experiencing violence in Victoria, Safe Steps provides assistance for women, members of the community who identify as female, and their children. The service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call 1800 015 188. More information can be found on the Safe Steps website.

If you are worried your behaviour might be harming your family members now or may in the future, call the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information can be found on the MensLine Australia website.