ATSICHS’ Chairman links with NT’s NO MORE founder Charlie King
NO MORE Campaign founder Charlie King was in Brisbane this week to talk at the STOP Family Violence Conference. He took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us to talk about how we could link in our campaigns and spread the NO MORE message even further.
What is the NO MORE campaign?
The NO MORE campaign started in the Northern Territory when Charlie visited remote Indigenous communities to discuss family violence. He noticed a trend among the top end and central desert communities. Some men had very strong opinions on how men should care and look after their family in a positive way. He saw these men as future leaders, though they were small in number. Then in the middle was the majority, who made no strong action either for or against the violence. Then, at the other end of the spectrum was a group who felt as strongly as the first, but in that they should be allowed to control their families however they choose. Charlie saw the challenge as figuring out how to empower the men in the first group who want to see a peaceful change. In talking with these men, Charlie noticed two independently recurring phrases said by all the local elders. These phrases were ‘no more’ and ‘all men should link up’.
From this the NO MORE Campaign took its name and symbol of linked arms. Our name is a homage to those Indigenous men in remote Northern Territory communities taking action in their communities. When we link arms as a symbolic gesture, we are referring to the words of indigenous elders.
Family violence is not, however, exclusive to indigenous communities. Accordingly, the campaign has reached out to the wider Australian community.
The key theme of the campaign is placing the responsibility of reducing family violence on men, the most common perpetrators. Central to the program is the respect of women. While men may have the power to be destructive, they have an equal power to care and look after their families. The reduction of family violence needs men to stand up, as individuals and a group, and take ownership for finding a solution.
To engage with large numbers of men, it is important to be present where large numbers of men gather. Sport, therefore, acts as a way to engage with men on a large scale and is the ideal place to engage with men on family violence. On this basis, the campaign began to involve itself in the sporting community.
Today the NO MORE Campaign has links with more than five sporting codes and nearly a hundred teams, and is still growing. A unique NO MORE approach to family violence has been developed, the domestic violence action plan.
The concept of a domestic violence action plan started with the local Northern Territory NTFL team Nightcliff and has since rolled on to be embraced by national teams such as the NRL’s Parramatta Eels. The linking of arms has become a staple of big matches, such as recent NTFL Grand Finals and national sporting code visits to the Northern Territory. The importance of staying connected to grassroots teams has not been forgotten, with the campaign being heavily involved in the Alice Springs Lightening Carnival and associated regional communities.
The NO MORE Campaign has also garnered support from all levels of government, and the wider public.
Find out more about NO MORE at www.nomore.org.au