02 May 2021
Gymnastics Australia engaged the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct an independent Review of Gymnastics in Australia. That review is due to be handed down Monday, May 3.
The Australian Sports Commission, including the AIS, supports this review and we respect that independent process. We will take very seriously its findings or recommendations.
The AIS conducted a gymnastics program from 1981-2012, employing coaches and engaging scholarship athletes. We are aware of complaints throughout this history and of reviews to try and address them, including a public inquiry into the AIS gymnastics program in 1995.
However, these latest allegations of past practises at the AIS are confronting and upsetting. We admire the courage of people who have come forward to share their stories.
We welcome that the current Australian Human Rights Commission review has given these former athletes an independent channel to be heard.
Additionally, we are establishing a confidential and independent support service. It will be available to any former AIS athletes and staff, across all sports, to share their experiences and seek the appropriate support services. Contact details for the ‘AIS Be Heard’ support service will be available on the AIS and Sport Australia websites from 8am on May 3.
We assure athletes, we will listen and we will support you regardless of how long ago the incident occurred.
Our primary concern is the welfare of athletes - past and present.
We have other support services available and we want former athletes to know they can use these without cost or question.
The AIS Mental Health Referral Network was established in 2018 to provide free and confidential support for past and present AIS athletes and people working in high performance sport. It includes a national network of mental health practitioners providing confidential support in areas of psychology, psychiatry, neuropsychology and nutrition. It is available here: www.ais.gov.au/mhrn
The ASC Sexual Misconduct Helpline also offers confidential support for former athletes and is available by ringing 1800 ASC HELP (1800 272 4357) or emailing email@example.com
We are a participating institution in the National Redress Scheme and are strongly committed to Australian sport environments that are safe and supportive. We have zero tolerance for any behaviour that puts the wellbeing of people in the Australian sporting community at risk, including bullying, sexual harassment and assault.
The ASC will make further comment once the Australian Human Rights Commission’s review is released.