AFTER much success engaging directly with men and boys, Port Adelaide’s Power to End Violence Against Women program is being expended to include women and girls.
In the week the program visits its 100th school – engaging with 6914 students so far – Power Community Ltd, the Port Adelaide Football Club’s not-for-profit community arm, has announced it has developed a new program called Empowered.
PCL Youth Programs Manager, Jake Battifuoco, explained that the program will be delivered to female students in year 10, with the focus on supporting young women to promote a positive sense of self and identity.
“With support from Centacare Catholic Family Services and Adelaide Airport Limited we developed the Empowered program to educate young women on what healthy relationships look like, and how to identify signs that can lead to abusive behaviours,” he said.
“It was important to ensure that involvement of girls is linked to achieving outcomes that relate to the reduction of violence against women and girls and should not be about girls taking responsibility for the actions of boys who perpetrate negative behaviours.
“The program is run concurrently to the Power to End Violence Against Women program at five schools."
The expansion comes after a study by the Australian Centre for Community Services Research at Flinders University as part of investigating primary prevention programs across South Australia and the Northern Territory.
A key recommendation from the report was to consider how to better involve girls as program participants or encourage their involvement in a similar program.
The research also concluded that:
- The PAFC engages directly with men and boys to start important conversations and work towards challenging entrenched attitudes that can contribute to gender-based violence;
- The PAFC works with men and boys to become allies to support meaningful social change;
- Sport and sporting role models play an integral role in connecting with communities and schools.
The idea behind the Power to End Violence Against Women program is that research on domestic violence shows that by the time they reach their teenage years, most young people have experienced or witnessed some form of domestic abuse.
Developed with Centacare Catholic Services and the Department for Education, the Power to End Violence Against Women program provides young men the opportunity to discuss the issue of violence against women and explore respectful relationships. In doing so, the program provides the information and skills necessary for young men to make informed choices to prevent violent behaviours in society.
In consultation with the Department for Education, the program complements the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum that is delivered in both primary and secondary schools.
The program’s 100th school visit was at Henley High School on Wednesday.
“The club is very proud to have delivered the program to 100 schools over the past five years,” said Mr Battifuoco.
“We have been very fortunate to have the continued support from major partners Centacare Catholic Family Services and the Government of South Australia, which has provided us the opportunity to engage many young men in this important education.
“As a primary prevention program, we aim to stop violence before it starts, so a big part is delivering messages that focus on the impact on our behaviour, our attitudes and the language we use.
“We want the boys to think about the relationships they have now and the ones they will form in the future, ensuring they are positive and respectful.”
It was a proud moment for program partner Centacare as well.
“100 school visits is a great milestone for the Power to End Violence Against Women program,” said Pauline Connelly, Deputy Director, Centacare Catholic Family Service.
“The growth of this program reflects the need for, and relevance of, respectful relationship education.”
The ambassadors of the program are Port Adelaide’s leadership group Tom Jonas, Ollie Wines and Hamish Hartlett and senior player Travis Boak.
Joining Mr Battifuoco at Henley High School on Wednesday was former captain Gavin Wanganeen and former leading goalkicker Brett Ebert.
Normally current players would also be in attendance, but the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols prohibit school visits at the moment.