Australian gymnastics abuse review to focus on culture and not individual cases

Australian gymnastics abuse review to focus on culture and not individual cases

Specific allegations of mental and physical abuse among Australian gymnasts will not be investigated by a review into the sport’s culture. Instead, Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner will lead a review into gymnastics after athletes made serious complaints about mental and physical abuse in the sport.

The review will not investigate individual allegations or make findings against any individuals.

At least 20 former gymnasts, including Olympians and Commonwealth Games medal winners, have recently complained about the sport’s culture. The gymnasts used social media platforms to make allegations of fat-shaming and other forms of physical and mental abuse during their careers.

The outpourings prompted Gymnastics Australia to ask the Australian Human Rights Commission to examine the sport’s culture and practices. The commission has appointed sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins to lead the review which will start in coming weeks.

Terms of reference for the review will be designed with Gymnastics Australia, with findings to be made public by the end of March next year.

“The scope of this review does not extend to the investigation of individual allegations nor findings being made against specific individuals,” the human rights commission said. “The review will encourage everyone to share their experiences and these will form an important part of the report.”

Gymnastics Australia’s chief executive officer Kitty Chiller has said the culture of gymnastics needed to change.

“Athletes have shared their personal experiences … many of those experiences are, quite simply, not acceptable,” Chiller said when announcing the review two weeks ago.

“The commission’s independence ensures the integrity of the review and the commitment made by everyone at Gymnastics Australia to genuinely listen and learn from our athletes and the gymnastics community.

���The review will build an understanding of the culture of gymnastics in Australia and any barriers there may be in reporting behaviours that go against what we stand for – zero tolerance of any form of abuse.”