The Carlton Respects Workplace Seminar

In September, our team at MC Labour attended a Carlton Respects Workplace Seminar where the team engaged in conversation within the Carlton network to find ways of preventing domestic violence. The MC Labour team heard from a number of inspirational guest speakers including; Simone O’Brien, Domestic Violence Survivor and Carlton Respects Ambassador, Jeff Griffiths, Managing Director of Endeavour Group and Patty Kinnersly, CEO of Our Watch.

“On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.”

“1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.”

The Carlton Respects program, developed by the Carlton Football Club (with advice from Our Watch), seeks to educate schools and workplaces about respect and equality in response to these confronting statistics on domestic violence. The Carlton Respects program is rapidly becoming one of the most influential programs in sport, is aimed at changing attitudes, behaviour, and environments to prevent violence before it occurs.

Simone O’Brien, domestic abuse survivor and Carlton Respects Ambassador spoke at the seminar of her own near death domestic violence experience. “Never give up, stay positive, keep smiling.” She told the room, amidst her recount of the barbaric beating she had received in front of her young children with a baseball bat from the man she had formerly agreed to marry. A beating that resulted in Simone being left for dead in her bedroom, her left arm snapped in two places, her top jaw smashed, nose and right cheekbone broken, and both her eye sockets and her skull shattered.

Simone told the room of how she has chosen to speak up about her experience in a hope of making change, and how important it is to keep up the conversation on the matter. She informed the seminar of how on average 52 women die each year due to domestic violence, about how domestic violence has physical, mental, and emotional impact on the victim, their family, and their kids, and on how important it is to look out for one another each and every day.

Another speaker at the seminar, Jeff Griffiths, told the room of how intrinsic an open door and respectful, loving, and caring workplace is in acting against domestic violence. He spoke of his own experience as a boss to an individual experiencing domestic violence, and how important open communication is in any company in ensuring the workplace is a safe place for employees. A place where employees feel comfortable speaking up if experiencing domestic violence. Speaking from a more economical standpoint, Jeff pointed out the financial benefits of respecting, loving, and caring for work colleges. He also outlined how, by replacing words like “manage” with “sponsor”, he was able to craft an equal, respectful workplace; erasing hierarchy prejudices.

The Carlton Respects program works in close association with Our Watch, the CEO being one of the guest speakers at the Workplace Seminar. Our Watch is an organisation that aims to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.

Through their studies, Our Watch identified a number of driving behaviours and factors behind the alarming prevalence of violence against women:

Gendered drivers of violence against women:

  • Condoning of violence against women
  • Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence
  • Stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity
  • Disrespect towards women and male peer relations that emphasise aggression

To act against these driving factors, Our Watch came up with five actions that will ultimately prevent violence against women:

Actions that will prevent violence against women:

  • Challenge condoning of violence against women
  • Promote women’s independence and decision-making
  • Challenge gender stereotypes and roles
  • Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relationships
  • Promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life

Our Watch proposes that “gender inequality is the core of the [domestic violence] problem and it is the heart of the solution.”

The Carlton Respects program aims to address the underlying reasons and risk factors behind domestic violence to ultimately prevent gender-based violence and disrespect against women. The program challenges gender stereotypes and roles and aims to strengthen positive, equal and respectful relations among young women and men.

“Education is key to preventing violence against women” – Mary Barry, Our Watch Chief Executive Officer.

MC Labour are an inaugural partner of Carlton Respects, and are the major supporter of the program in 2019 and 2020. On the 15th of June, 2019, the Carlton Respects game, proudly presented by MC Labour, saw the Carlton Football Club pull up their bright orange socks as they played their fourth annual Carlton Respects game against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium. The ‘Pull Your Socks Up’ campaign sees Carlton Respects, supported by Our Watch, promote gender equality for the prevention of violence against women on a national stage.

For more information on Carlton Respects, head to

For more information on Our Watch, head to


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