NRL, NSW government in 'Better Choices' campaign
The NRL and the NSW Government have launched a series of educational modules, known as "Better Choices", which teach teenagers how to make better decisions in real life situations to avoid serious and lifelong consequences.
The program includes scenarios based around alcohol misuse, illicit drugs, respectful relationships, filming and distribution of private acts without consent, violence on and off the field, social media and cyber-bullying.
It consists of five modules which will be delivered to Junior Rugby League Clubs and youth competitions across NSW by trained NRL facilitators and Ambassadors.
"The messages are consistent with those that are delivered to NRL players and it is through the involvement of these players that we hope to deliver the messages to the next generation," NRL Chief Operating Officer Mr Jim Doyle said.
"We hope this information is engaging, age specific and relevant to this target audience. If we can push these responsible messages at this age we can make significant cultural changes in years to come.
"The program is not only directed at teenagers but includes guidelines for parents, coaches and officials on how to support these messages."
Better Choices has been produced in partnership with the NSW Government, and with the support of Shine Lawyers, Australian Drug Foundation, the Australian Federal Police and the NRL Respectful Relationships group.
NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, Stuart Ayres MP said the NSW Government strongly supported the program.
"Adolescence, as every teenager, parent, and youth professional knows, is a time of change," Mr Ayres said.
"With greater freedom and independence, young athletes face new choices involving cars, alcohol, drugs and sexuality—quite often in combination.
"Poor choices about these risks can have terrible consequences for individuals, families, and society as a whole.
"We are very proud to have been able to work with the NRL in delivering a series of modules that speak to the youth with very real scenarios that they can relate to."
The program is built on a concept developed by one of Australia's leading advocates in the prevention for education, Adair Donaldson from Shine Lawyers, Sydney film maker Drew McPherson was engaged to develop this series of videos. Four of the five modules are based on real life situations that regularly happen and require legal support.
"The programs we have developed not only try to address the legal issues around some of these scenarios, but also the ethical behaviour of participants and bystanders," Mr Donaldson said.
"It is incredibly important to educate young people about the legal consequences of their actions, which may change their life paths forever."