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Initiative has a positive impact

Friday, 13th June, 2014

Former NRL star David Peachey (centre) was at Menindee Central School yesterday to speak to students including (left) Vincent Newman, Leo Johnson, Paul Hooker (Learning Support Officer), William Mitchell and Tevita Newman about domestic violence. Former NRL star David Peachey (centre) was at Menindee Central School yesterday to speak to students including (left) Vincent Newman, Leo Johnson, Paul Hooker (Learning Support Officer), William Mitchell and Tevita Newman about domestic violence.

By Ethan James

The ‘Tackling Violence’ initiative has had a positive impact in the Far West, according to the program coordinators. 

The education and awareness program, which began in 2009, is currently travelling to Outback Rugby League clubs and school in Wilcannia, Menindee and Broken Hill. 

“It’s all about coming out and having conversations about domestic violence, about what it is, how to recognise it and how to get support,” facilitator Dixie Link-Gordon said. 

“There are now 30 clubs across New South Wales that participated, so we’ve reached a few thousand over the past six years.”

Former NRL and State of Origin representative David Peachey, who played more than 250 NRL games for Cronulla and South Sydney, has been involved with ‘Tackle Violence’ since its inception.  

He spoke to students at Menindee Central School about the potential indicators of domestic violence yesterday.

“I’m passionate about it because I have two daughters and knowing the stats that one in three women at one stage in their life will be affected by domestic violence,” Peachey explained. 

“For me it was one of the things I wanted to put my name to and feel pretty grateful that I get the opportunity to do such things.

“It’s come together over a long period but it’s come together well.”

Ms Link-Gordon said she had witnessed a change in community attitudes since the program began.

Football clubs are now involved in initiatives including White Ribbon Day, while an emphasis has been placed on encouraging families to participate.  

“People have a lot to say about violence and I think ‘Tackling Violence’ has acted as a platform for change,” she said. 

“Wilcannia is a great example, they have a men’s shed now and a women’s group.

“Not to say that we’re fully responsible for that but we’ve experienced the journey and change the community has gone through.

“The kids at the high school have a great outlook in terms of what is available for support.” 

Peachey, who was born in Dubbo and grew up in rural NSW, said the opportunity to simply chat to youngsters in the bush was something special. 

“It’s the general chit-chat around rugby league that gets them in,” he said. 

“At this age, kids are like sponges and hopefully they can take something away from this.

“That’s what I like about coming out here, they’re very down to earth and there’s nothing but grassroots out here.” 

The pair visited ORL clubs in Broken Hill earlier in the week as well as Broken Hill High School on Tuesday afternoon.

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