QUESTIONS BEING ASKED ABOUT BULLYING IN ELITE SPORTS BY SENATOR PATRICK

PRESS RELEASE – 17.04.2018

In a welcome development, the Australian Senate has taken an interest in the issue of bullying in elite sports.

In a serious of questions asked by Centre Alliance (formerly the Nick Xenophon Team) Senator Rex Patrick to the Australian Sports Commission, Equestrian Australia is among five sporting bodies being targeted by the Senator (see link below for questions).

The other sporting bodies Senator Patrick has asked questions of are Athletics Australia, Swimming Australia, Hockey Australia and Cycling Australia.

When SBIES contacted Senator Patrick about the questions, he stated:

“I don’t support bullying in any form, or in any organisation. The five sporting bodies who are the subject of these allegations must be transparent about the policies they have in place to protect their members from bullying and harassment.”

With millions of dollars of taxpayer funds awarded to these sports each year, Senator Patrick is seeking detailed answers through the Senate Estimates process as to the extent of bullying and harassment and what measures are currently in place to enforce member protection policies.

Hannah Brooks, founder of the Stop Bullying in Equestrian Sports (SBIES) anti-bullying support-group said:

“SBIES has been at the frontline of the bullying epidemic in elite sport. Equestrians approach our support-group because the member protection policies and complaints processes have failed them.

“Eighty-five percent of respondents to our recent survey have been bullied or have witnessed bullying at an equestrian event or club.

“Codes of Conduct, Social Media and Member Protection policies are only useful tools if they are being enforced. From the hundreds of equestrians who have contacted us, even in the most severe cases of bullying and harassment, the common theme has been that the proper disciplinary processes outlined in these policies were not administered.

“It is highly encouraging that Senator Patrick is querying the ASC on why it continues to fund equestrian sports with millions of dollars a year if it is not adequately protecting members against bullying and harassment.”

The ASC suddenly abolished its ‘no-medal-no-money’ Winning Edge funding strategy in December 2017 amid criticism it has contributed to a toxic win-at-all-costs sporting culture in Australian sport.

Although the ASC funding model is currently under review, it is hoped any changes will better serve the needs of grass-roots participants.

All eyes will be on the Federal Government’s national sports plan initiative due for release later this month, to learn what measure, if any, will be introduced to address the incidence of bullying & harassment in elite sports.

Contact Hannah from SBIES on hannah@hannahbrooks.com.au  or 0412 257 882

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Click – For the full list of Senate Estimate Committee questions

(See questions 106-117 from Senator Patrick)

Photo credit: Hannah Brooks

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