HUNTER children need to be included in conversations about healthy relationships in order to reduce incidence of domestic violence across the region.
That's the recommendation from Melissa Histon-Browning, the chief executive of anti-domestic violence charity Got Your Back Sista (GYBS), which will shine a spotlight on the issue at the July 12 Newcastle Knights versus Canterbury Bulldogs game.
"In the past domestic violence has been a real hush hush issue, like 'Don't talk about it in front of the kids, we don't want the kids to know'," she said.
"But really we need to be educating and talking to our young people about healthy relationships and what those look like.
"They need to learn what's acceptable and what's not acceptable, but also then have the courage if they know something is not normal and not okay to then speak out and go and talk to a teacher, a friend, a coach, somebody they trust."
Ms Histon-Browning said the charity had been hosting self-defence workshops in Hunter high schools and had met girls as young as 14 who had already experienced violent relationships.
"I find that astounding and very, very sad and scary."
Knights prop David Klemmer said speaking to kids about "the right way and right mind space and right living - it's just going to help generations to come".
The father of three boys said he was "humbled" to be asked to join the campaign and wanted to "make sure I raise [my sons] the right way in how to respect people".
Ms Histon-Browning said the Knights were setting an example "that we all need to stand together and raise our voices to end the problem".
GYBS will hand game attendees 'say no' banners and ask them to hold the banners up when Paul 'The Chief' Harragon, White Ribbon ambassador Clint Newton and Ms Histon-Browning ask what the community should say to domestic violence.
Those who register and make a donation will receive a shirt and reserved seat ticket in the GYBS supporters' bay.
Funds will help provide women and children escaping violence with furniture and household items. Details: mycause.com.au/events/2019gybsknights