Growing up, Russell Ebert had an inkling all was not rosy.
He knew of arguments and disputes and he read people’s body language but, like most, he assumed everything was OK.
“Until you were exposed to it …it was sort of in the background,’’ Ebert says of domestic violence, in a new research report launched today.
“No one ever discussed it… our parents never discussed it. They might say … the relationship looks a bit rocky.
“What is happening now is disgraceful, unacceptable and foreign to the way that I was brought up.’’
A four-time winner of the Magarey Medal, Ebert is no longer silent about the scourge that until relatively recently he knew little about.
It was not until his involvement with Power Community Ltd (PCL) programs that his awareness changed, as did his belief that something needed to be done.
Ebert sprang into action, and today he opens young minds through the Power to End Violence Against Women (PTEVAW) program in classrooms across the state.
With the help of players, PCL facilitators and other staff including coach Ken Hinkley, Ebert works with participants in Year 10 to tackle ideals of masculinity and gender-based attitudes and behaviours.
A Flinders University qualitative study found PTEVAW, which began in 2016, has `achieved measurable impact’ around messaging about respectful relationships and positive bystander intervention.
Undertaken by the Australian Centre for Community Services Research, the study also explored Northern Territory-based NO MORE, a campaign founded by ABC sports broadcaster, Charlie King, and delivered in partnership with CatholicCare NT.
For more than a decade the NO MORE campaign has been asking men to stand up and take responsibility for their actions.
Over time, the program has grown into a whole-of-community prevention and awareness tool aimed at challenging norms around the prevalence of violence.
The linking of arms at community and sporting events has become a sign throughout the NT that communities are working together to achieve this aim.
For NO MORE, football has become a powerful cornerstone for community mobilisation to address family and domestic violence, says King: “I remember having a meeting with the CEOs of the eight major sports in Australia some years later, going to them with a bit of an idea about, you know, sport maybe could do more about stopping violence and they told me that eight million Australians are involved in sport every weekend and I thought … ‘like what a movement, like what an army’. Imagine getting eight million people committed to saying ‘no more, stop the violence’.”