AFL needs to do more on domestic violence

The AFL should summon club presidents to take part in a domestic violence round table discussion, says Our Watch CEO Mary Barry.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire is under fire after joking he would pledge $50,000 if sports journalist Caroline Wilson “stays under” in a charity ice pool for the ‘Big Freeze at the MCG’.

While he apologised “unreservedly” late on Monday, after earlier attempts to explain that his comments were meant as good humoured banter, Barry says McGuire’s apology is a start, but “not the end point”.

The AFL along with other sport codes last week signed a leadership agreement with Our Watch, which aims to change the culture that fuels violence against women.

“We need to move forward and we need to see that commitment turning into action,” Barry told SEN Breakfast radio on Tuesday.

“We’re calling on the AFL to bring together all the club presidents to a round table to discuss this issue.

“And we then want all clubs to understand the link between sexism and violence against women and explore with us what they can do about it and what they can do to change the current story.”

Barry also called on high-profile media personalities to be more aware of how their comments can affect views on domestic violence.

“Comments that trivialise or condone or make a joke about such violence are unacceptable from anyone but particularly from high profile media personalities… because the public is very heavily influenced by the way violence is portrayed in the media,” she said.

On Monday, McGuire said he had sought counsel from several sources, including anti-domestic violence advocates Rosie Batty and Phil Cleary, before issuing his video apology on Collingwood’s website.

He also pledged to make a personal donation to support victims of domestic violence.

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