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NRL Match Officials will wear purple socks in all matches this weekend to support Bravehearts, Australia's leading child protection organisation.

The initiative, which will involve all referees and touch judges, will come ahead of Bravehearts' 22nd annual White Balloon Day, which will take place on Friday, 7 September, to raise awareness about protecting kids from child sexual assault. 

Bravehearts currently employs more than 65 people across Australia, providing child protection training and education initiatives, specialist child sexual assault counselling and support services, as well as research and reform campaigns to prevent child sexual assault in our society.

"This is an incredibly important cause and our match officials are certainly happy to be able to support Bravehearts in this way," NRL Senior Manager Officiating Bernard Sutton said. 

"Hopefully we can give some important exposure which will then assist education, prevention and counselling programs for children across Australia." 

Hetty Johnston AM, Founder and Executive Chair of Bravehearts said: "Purple is the colour of courage as represented in the purple heart in our logo.  One in five kids will be sexually assaulted in some way before the age of 18, or one every 10 minutes.

"The NRL refs are helping us to reach the one in five people in the stands watching the game and those watching from home who have experienced harm in childhood with a message of support and encouragement to break their silence and tell somebody. 

"NRL refs are encouraging everyone to play by the rules and to help keep kids safe." 

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The match officials' support of Bravehearts is one of many initiatives the NRL has undertaken to demonstrate the game’s commitment to the prevention of domestic violence, including the Voice Against Violence campaign.

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