News and Events

New partnership improving equality and respect on and off the footy field

Health & wellbeing

Nov 23, 2023

Former Western Bulldogs premiership player Tom Boyd is joining forces with community and gender equality organisations in the west to improve inclusivity, respect and safety at local community footy clubs.

Champions of the West: Level the Playing Field for Gender Equality

Nominate your club for a FREE training session to promote gender equity in WRFL and Sports Central footy clubs! Evidence shows that sporting clubs that champion gender equality contribute to healthier communities and help to prevent gender-based violence.

Book Now!

Session details below:

  • hear from Tom Boyd on the importance of respectful and inclusive clubs
  • learn from experts on the impacts of gender stereotypes and how to improve your club's performance on and off the field
  • maximum 80 people in per session
  • girls/women’s and boys/men/’s teams over 16 are invited
  • coaches and club president encouraged to attend
  • win prizes!
  • food and drinks will be provided

Get in contact via to book your club in for a workshop now!

Media release

Boyd will be speaking at the workshops as part of the Champions of the West, a program funded by Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Preventing Violence Through Sports grants program. Champions of the West engages local community football club leaders and players to increase understanding of the links between gender inequality and gender-based violence.

Tom Boyd (he/him), who is a committed mental health advocate and Western Bulldogs Community Foundation ambassador, said:

“Community sporting clubs are in many ways a cornerstone of our communities, with that, they are uniquely placed to bring forth topics to focus on that will improve our society.

At the end of the day, we want our clubs to be places that can unlock the potential of as many people as possible, and help them thrive. These sessions are a great opportunity to bring people together to talk on things that are of grave importance, and bring it to the forefront of people’s minds leading into a great year of football.”

David Jennings (he/him), the CEO of the Western Region Football League said:

“Community sport is at the core of our social fabric, and we have the power to influence positive behaviours and attitudes utilising sport and sporting clubs as its vehicle. An inclusive, safe and respectful sporting Club will improve the lives of women, girls and gender diverse people.

We are honoured to be a partner of the Champions of the West project that will deliver important activities and education around the prevention of violence within a community sport setting. A sporting club that champions a culture which advances gender equality will contribute to a healthier community and prevent gender-based violence.”

GenWest’s CEO Dale Wakefield (she/her) said:

“GenWest’s family violence team supports tens of thousands of victim survivors every year. More than one woman a week has been killed as a result of family and gender-based violence in Australia so far this year.

Gender inequality is the key driver of gender-based violence. It’s a serious public health issue. Programs like Champions of the West are crucial for preventing gender-based violence before it occurs.”

The western metropolitan regions of Wyndham and Melton are some of the fastest growing corridors in Australia, these areas also experience high levels of family violence intersected by disadvantage, social exclusion, and associated barriers to employment.

The Champions of the West program includes gender equality advocates GenWest, Women’s Health Grampians, the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation and the Western Region Football League (WRFL).

The sessions will be delivered in early 2024, and clubs in the Western Region Football League and Sports Central can sign up for a free session during the during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 Days of Activism is a global initiative that runs annually from 25 November to 10 December.

Community football clubs in the west who are interested in taking part in the Champions of the West workshop sessions can email for more information.

If you’re experiencing family violence and need support or want to know more about gender equality programs in Melbourne’s west, visit


  • In 2020, the Melton City Council LGA had the highest prevalence rates of family violence per 10,000 people in metropolitan Melbourne, and in 2020 Wyndham ranked fourth highest in the whole state of Victoria for reported incidents of family violence.
  • Ballarat ranked 14 out of 79 LGAs for rate of family violence per 10,000, and 13 out of 79 LGAs for reported incidents of family violence in 2020.
  • For more information or additional quotes, contact Kelly Ventress, Communications Manager at GenWest on 0455 280 541.

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