Taufa steps up for Voice Against Violence in WA

Jillaroos forward Simaima Taufa encouraged players at the recent Harmony Cup Nines Tournament as well as local school students to stand up, speak out and take action when the Voice Against Violence program was delivered in Western Australia for the first time.

Former NRL players Alan Tongue and Clinton Toopi accompanied Taufa on her first trip as a community program deliverer, where they presented a series of workshops around eliminating any form of violence against anyone, particularly against women and children.

The first weekend in December marked the second Harmony Cup in Port Kennedy, Western Australia, where 43 men's and women's teams took to the field for the annual event.

Eleven cultural groups attended the Harmony Cup, in which the Roosters forward said it was a great opportunity to promote the Voice Against Violence messages of respectful and healthy relationships.

"It was amazing to see the turnout at the Harmony Cup – you could feel a sense of pride around the fields as people were playing for their people and culture," Taufa said.

"It was the perfect occasion to deliver our program with violence being a worldwide issue and the Harmony Cup bringing people together from all different backgrounds.

NSW prop Simaima Taufa.
NSW prop Simaima Taufa. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"As much as it was great to see all the talent on the field, what was most pleasing was seeing everyone walking around with the Voice Against Violence logo on their jersey and the number of players that came and sat in on the workshops."

Statistics show one in four women will experience physical abuse by their intimate partner.

Taking that statistic into account, Taufa said it was vital that rugby league used its voice to continue to let the younger generation know they have the power to make change.

"I knew it was occurring and a serious issue in communities but I didn't realise just how prevalent it is – it's scary to think about that statistic especially considering I'm one of six girls in my family," Taufa said.

"I'm grateful to be involved in this meaningful initiative - we are giving these young people the power to literally stand up, speak out and take action on this serious issue.

"We provide them with the support, the tools and the resources to combat it and if something does occur then we encourage them to take action and not just be a bystander - they have the power to make that choice of taking action.

"I also have to mention all the hard work Steve Meredith, Alan Tongue and Clinton Toopi do as leader in this space and dedication they shown to want to make a difference in our communities and for our future generation."