by Kate Withers reporting for Latrobe Valley Express

Gippsland Football Netball League clubs will wear a splash of orange this weekend for a specially-fixtured Orange Round to raise awareness and promote change in attitudes and behaviours towards violence against women and girls.

Launched in 2015, Orange Round in Gippsland aims to use the far-reaching influence of sporting clubs across the region to make the broader community aware of the link between gender inequality and family violence.

Players across both codes will don orange arm tape and netballers will wear orange bibs in a show of support for Orange Round next weekend.

In addition, a number of club education sessions and a dedicated poster campaign will be rolled out in the lead up with the support of Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault, Gippsland Women’s Health, GippSport, Quantum Support Services, Netball Victoria and AFL Gippsland.

Gender equality in sport project worker with Gippsland Women’s Health Megan Barnes was on hand at the Gippsland Orange Round launch this week and flagged the initiative as an important step towards driving change in the community.

“An equal playing field creates opportunities for everyone,” Barnes said.

Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault chief executive Fiona Boyle reinforced the capacity for sporting clubs to act as platforms for positive messaging.

“Sporting clubs are really a hub of the community and they’re like an extension of family,” Boyle said.

“There’s intergenerational families that participate in clubs and strong messages about social norms and what’s acceptable are generated within these clubs.

“It [is an] opportunity to get some education and messages about gender equality and respectful relationships.”

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