RL Youth Panel campaign gathers momentum
Four Rugby League enthusiasts have come together to raise awareness of sexualised violence and gender-based harassment in Europe by launching the # Stop1in5 Twitter campaign.
And, after taking their cause to the Magic Weekend, hope to see an upsurge in interest.
Ellie Smith, Jack Phillips, Natalie Carr and Jamie Elkaleh have created the RFL Youth Panel – with the main aim of promoting the Council of Europe’s ‘One in Five’ campaign – and as part of their efforts have set up the Twitter campaign which has already attracted some big names from across Rugby League.
Household Rugby League names such as Kevin Sinfield, Josh Charnley, Rangi Chase and Ray French have shown their support by being snapped doing the STOP1in5 hand signal (pictured) in a bid to raise awareness of the statistic which shows that one in five children in Europe are exposed to sexual violence.
“We are trying to get more and more people to do a ‘one in five’ signal with their hands, to show support for the STOP1in5 campaign,” said Natalie Carr. “We want to start by involving all the Super League clubs before moving on to the Championships and community clubs.
“If people have seen us at big games then fans will recognise us and will be more likely to want to get involved.”
Natalie and her colleagues were trained by RFL Safeguarding Manager Colette Eden and Salford Red Devils player Alex Davidson – who is currently on loan at Oldham – to recognise sexual violence, and will now visit clubs across the country to spread the word about #Stop1in5.
Jamie Elkaleh said: “We want to get people involved through Rugby League before painting a bigger picture.
“The hope is that, by creating the Rugby League Youth Panel, all Super League and Championships clubs will send young people to a panel, and they will be the representative voice of young people in Rugby League.”
Alex Davidson said: “The official project finishes in January 2015 which is when we have to have fulfilled criteria to gain European Union funding, which means we need 50 supporting signatures. But we want it to go on further than that, we want it to really take off long after that 2015 deadline.”
Colette Eden said: “The group are part of the European Sport respects your rights project, which has received funding from the DAPHNE 111 project. The RFL is proud to be part of this initiative, along with the Lawn Tennis Association, and led by Edge Hill University.
“We are delighted with the publicity the group have received and look forward to taking the project further within the game and truly involving young people in protecting themselves in the Rugby League environment.”
To find out more about the Rugby League Youth Panel, please enquire via the official Twitter page, by searching for @RLYouthPanel.