AFL Cape York House stands up to domestic and family violence

The 45 young men who call AFL Cape York House for Boys home during the school year have hosted their annual Stand Up Against Domestic and Family Violence High Tea for more than 220 women.

The boys, aged 11 to 17, live on site at the Cairns-based boarding house which provides educational, employment and training opportunities for young Indigenous men from across Far North Queensland.

AFL Cape York House General Manager, Rick Hanlon, said the High Tea was an opportunity to see the first-hand measures AFL Cape York House takes to empower its young men.

“A key focus of our programs is to teach our students about appreciation, leadership, culture, and being proud and strong,” he said.

“Our Stand Up Against Domestic and Family Violence High Tea which we’ve hosted over the past seven years is a good example of this. The function gives the boys the opportunity to bring people together and have a conversation about a big issue that affects every community across the country; domestic and family violence.

“For our boys, the most influential people in their lives predominately are women; their mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters and cousins, and we need to ensure we are teaching our young men that women are not objects and coercive, physical and mental abuse is totally unacceptable.”

Waiting on tables, preparing the food, and entertaining the guests, the students have now raised more than $50,000 to support domestic and family violence services in Cairns and the Far North.

Attendees were moved by guest speaker Jaime Ahwang, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman with paternal cultural connections to the Taepadhighi Traditional Owner Group in Old Mapoon and maternal ties to Boigu and Darnley Islands in the Torres Straits.

Jaime, who is currently a Practice Supervisor at Act for Kids in the Intensive Family Support Program, spoke of the many personal challenges she has had to overcome to get to where she is today. Those challenges have motivated her to want to empower and advocate for families, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, who have had and are still having similar experiences.

The day also included the announcement of a $60,000 partnership with AFL Cape York House and Chemist Warehouse.

Chemist Warehouse will donate $15,000 worth of store goods from its local Cairns store to the Boys and Girls House every year for the next four years.

Mr Hanlon said the partnership would go a long way to assisting with the everyday living expenses of the 90 students who live at the two houses.  

“From hairbrushes to toothpaste and all the other personal goods growing teenagers and young adults need, we go through a lot of inventory each year,” he said.

“I’m thrilled Chemist Warehouse have come on board; their generosity will go a long way to help us provide for the young people in our care.

“I’d also like to acknowledge AFL Cape York’s partnerships with My Pathways and VPG in delivering today’s important function.  Both organisations have been closely aligned to AFL Cape York over the years and are extremely committed to the growth and development of our young people.

“Today’s event also wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations of the AFL partnerships with Cadbury and Coles and I thank them for their support.” 




AFL Cape York has been delivering programs in remote Indigenous Communities of Far North Queensland for 23 years.

The Game Development staff travel to around 35 remote and isolated communities over a 400,000 square kilometres area of land and sea to deliver education, sporting and wellbeing opportunities to the young people that call these communities’ home.

AFL Cape York Boys and Girls Houses, are purpose built facilities aiming to provide accommodation, educational, employment and training opportunities for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women from some of Far North Queensland’s most remote communities in a culturally appropriate, safe and secure residential environment to ensure every boarding student has the opportunity to transition successful in to what they want to pursue. 

AFL Cape York House aims to assist the transition from remote communities by working with families and the individual on their transition supports. Students are provided with a supportive and structured environment that is centred around culture and family by building positive relationships and like skills as they transition through secondary school.

Construction of AFL Cape York House – Boys boarding facility was completed in January 2013 and has a capacity of 48 young men. AFL Cape York House – Girls facility opened its doors for 50 young women in 2019.

Picture by Travis Azzopardi, Adllins Media

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