About Us

The Victorian Women's Trust

Be the Hero!  is an innovative, web-based violence prevention program for young men, conceived, designed and produced by the Victorian Women's Trust. The program encourages young men to build respectful relationships with women.  It demonstrates that anyone can be the hero by choosing to live a life free of violence. The website content has been designed for use in small groups of  boys and young men, led by a male group leader or teacher over at least four sessions. Ideally, we would love to have boys and men all over Australia knowing that this program exists and accessing it as an important tool in building respectful relationships.

Please visit the Victorian Women's Trust at www.vwt.org.au to see the full range of their work on behalf of the community.


Formed in 2009, the NIRODAH Company was established to work specifically with schools and community support agencies to enhance the wellness of young people and their families. NIRODAH has a particular focus on the placement of psychological services into schools as well as the development of targeted programs to support school leaders and their staff with key issues  such as bullying, positive student engagement, transition and retention.
NIRODAH currently places psychologists in 11 Melbourne schools as well as offering the Seasons For Growth Program which assists young people who are dealing with grief and loss.

Paul Zappa (Director) was engaged by the Victorian Women's Trust to train leaders to deliver Be The Hero! to young people in their schools or alternative education settings. In the second school semester 2010, Paul led  33 training sessions in Victoria and one in Tasmania, Qld, Perth, NT and Adelaide.
In February Paul will train is Sydney  and again in QLD as well as continuing to offer training to staff in Victorian schools and community settings.


Why use Be The Hero!?

Statistically men are the greatest cause of death and disability to women in the 14-44 age bracket and are the greatest contributor to all forms of violence against women.

Young men must then be the target audience in any program of prevention of violence against women. They are entering the phase of their lives where they are beginning to develop relationships with women and they will be the instigator of change in decreasing the amount of violence committed by men against women.

The aim of the Be The Hero! program is to educate young men so that they make well informed and positive choices in their future relationships with women and girls. These young men receive their instruction about relating to women and girls through numerous sources such as family, peers and various forms of media. Unfortunately these teaching agents are often detrimental to the development of respectful relationships and actually validate the violence perpetrated by men against women. Be The Hero! is a fresh and engaging program that provides a powerful, positive influence upon these young men. It asks them to question their current belief systems. It offers a positive alternative and provides excellent role models who can demonstrate how to lead respectful relationships with women and girls.

Significantly, the target for the training of Be The Hero! is young male teachers. Ideally they will role model positive and respectful relationships to young men. The modelling itself is as powerful as the statistics and content of the program.

Domestic violence carries a significant level of shame for families. Resultantly it is rarely spoken of in public. Be The Hero! boldly educates young men about the prevalence and affects of domestic violence within our community. Be The Hero! is so powerful because it is an evidence based program which draws upon research and programs from around the world to provide materials and activities that accurately demonstrate the prevalence and impact of this global issue and then empowers young people to make the change themselves.

If we are to create change in behaviour, young men need to understand the causative agents of this violence and then practise alternative, positive actions. By creating awareness of the gender stereotypes that often lead to the formation of assertions of power and dominance of men and Be The Hero! allows the facilitator to lead the young men in discussion and practice of more respectful methods of relating to women and girls.

Be The Hero! educates  and challenges young men to be active, caring and supportive partners. By developing an understanding of the benefits of equality in a relationship young men will be more likely to choose not to use violence in their relationships.The behaviours of support, love, kindness and tolerance promoted by Be The Hero! underpin the eventual learning of how to lead more respectful lives with women and children.

Partnership with Melbourne Storm

As part of the Club’s Respect for Women program, the Storm recently formalised a partnership with the Victorian Women’s Trust to implement a new program called “Be the Hero”.

SG Ball players, Sarah Capper from VWT and Player Development Manager Brian Phelan
SG Ball players, Sarah Capper from VWT and Player Development Manager Brian Phelan

The program is an internet based program that encourages young men to build and develop respectful relationships with women free of violence. The program is specifically designed for young males aged at approximately the Year 10/11 level.

The Club and The Victorian Women’s Trust have recently partnered to promote this program into as many schools as possible.

In January this year the Club implemented the program internally with the entire SG Ball (Under 18s) squad who all participated in the program. The boys undertook four sessions over a three week period which included awareness and education content relating to:

1. What behaviours constitute abuse
2. Definitions and statistics relating to abuse
3. Myths used to justify violence
4. Gender, identity and violence
5. Situations to consider (case scenarios, film)
6. Relationships
7. Helpful hints about practical ideas
8. Personal stories
9. Services and where to get help
10. Questions and answers
11. Quizzes

The Victorian Women’s Trust ‘s ‘Be The Hero’ program content is soundly researched and holistic – seewww.bethehero.com.au for more details about the program.

The Club and The Victorian Women’s Trust are currently identifying ways where the Club can assist them with their objective for the program to be implemented in as many schools as possible.

For any further information contact Player Development Manager Brian Phelan at the Club on (03) 8412 4911.