Players work through educational hypotheticals at a Rookie Camp, photo courtesy of the NRL.
Players work through educational hypotheticals at a Rookie Camp, photo courtesy of the NRL.

Respectful Relationships program

Professor Catharine Lumby works in an active research partnership with the National Rugby League on ethics-based education programs for elite and junior players.

Grounded in extensive research into male sporting culture and off-field behaviour, the Respectful Relationships education program offers NRL and younger players ethical decision making skills that support them to behave responsibly and ethically in social situations.

The program is delivered annually to all players, is regularly evaluated in partnership with Macquarie University, and has established an international reputation as a leading education initiative.

The research partnership also enlists elite male sportsmen as advocates for ending violence against women.

In 2013, the NRL funded Macquarie University to enable Professor Lumby to produce a report that outlines the innovative research-based education framework to make it available to other elite sporting organisations.

The same year, Chief of the Defence Forces General David Hurley invited Professor Lumby to address the senior leadership of the Australian Defence Forces on how ethics-based education can promote cultural change in relation to sexual violence prevention.

Professor Lumby sits on the Welfare and Education Committee of the NRL and also works with Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia to promote research into preventing violence against women.

The Macquarie University research partnership with the NRL reflects the University’s research strength in social, cultural and political change and its commitment to ensuring that excellent research is applied in ways that meet industry needs and support an evidence-based approach to furthering social justice.

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