Anti-violence stance by union

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South Canterbury rugby is standing up against domestic violence.

That is the message being driven by the South Canterbury Rugby Football Union (SCRFU) as part of a community-wide initiative called “Standing Up”.

It is a reminder that domestic violence is not OK.

SCRFU chief executive Craig Calder launched the initiative at a recent forum attended by more than 50 people, representing 11 of the district’s clubs.

“Due to the standing and influence of rugby in South Canterbury, we see it as a unique opportunity to take a leadership role to demonstrate that we care about all people, all cultures and we have a desire to help create safe environments,” he said.

The forum featured a range of messages and guest speakers, who shared “hard-hitting” information.

“The content subject matter and some of the background information was hard to take by some, however we needed to stress that domestic/family violence was not in any way directed or attributed to rugby players and/or rugby clubs – it is a society problem,” Mr Calder said.

“It is a cause that South Canterbury rugby has decided to stand alongside and support.”

He said the feedback from clubs was overwhelming, with their support and commitment to adopt and promote the cause.

The project will be implemented in late April.

“We wanted to start the conversation and we certainly achieved that.

project and are very committed to working with our clubs and other local charity organisations, such as Te Rito, to get the message out there and educate people within our clubs on what support services are available.”

Throughout the year, South Canterbury rugby will promote the anti-domestic violence message in a variety of ways, including the use of billboards, handbooks and newsletters.

Clubs will also raise the subject among their teams and supporters.

Guest speakers will also be invited to talk to the community about the issue.

A charity day is also planned during a Heartland Game, with proceeds going to Women’s Refuge, along with a “Walk Beside Me” event, where players will walk on to the ground before a game with their partner, mother or other family member.