Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Awaiting release of Human Rights Commission’s review Australian Sports Commission launches services to support abused gymnasts

Awaiting release of Human Rights Commission’s review Australian Sports Commission launches services to support abused gymnasts
May 2, 2021

In advance of tomorrow’s release of the independent report by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission into allegations of abuse of gymnasts in the former Australian Institute of Sport program, the Australian Sports Commission has advised that it has created a confidential and independent support service available to former athletes and staff.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s review is expected to detail experiences of children suffering from bullying, misconduct, abuse and sexual harassment in the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) gymnastics program, which ran from 1981 to 2012.

In advance of the release of the report, Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck says he expects it to reveal "concerning events and practices within gymnastics, particularly with respect to treatment of young gymnasts” while the Australian Sports Commission has today released a statement advising “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.”

Announcing the creation of the independent support service, the statement adds “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.

Click here for more information on the AIS Mental Health Referral Network.

The Sports Commission has advised that it will make further comment once the Australian Human Rights Commission’s review is released.

Helplines for those who need support:

Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
Headspace on 1800 650 890
Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) on 1800 008 774

About the author

Karen Sweaney

Editor, Australasian Leisure Management

Artist, geoscientist and specialist writer on the leisure industry, Karen Sweaney is Editor of Australasian Leisure Management. Based in Sydney, Australia, her specific areas of interest include the arts, entertainment, the environment, fitness, tourism and wellness.

She has degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Sydney and Geological Oceanography from UNSW.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

2nd May 2021 - Latest Ausplay report shows renewed participation in Olympic sport

9th March 2021 - Australian Sports Commission revealed to have underpaid casual pool lifeguards

25th February 2021 - Australian Sports Commission welcomes South-East Queensland’s recognition as preferred bid candidate for the 2032 Olympics

22nd February 2021 - New peak industry body established to represent interests of gymnastics clubs

19th February 2021 - Sport Australia releases resources to help people return to activity

10th February 2021 - Gymnastics Victoria encourages the return of children to gymnastics

1st February 2021 - First woman named as Chair of Australian Sports Commission

11th December 2020 - AIS maintains support for athlete development

10th December 2020 - Sport Australia launches new resources for community clubs

3rd December 2020 - AIS and Paralympics Australia partnership expands mental health support to future Paralympians

28th November 2020 - AIS launches national taskforce to make Australia world leader in high performance coaching

17th November 2020 - Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia partner to promote volunteering in sporting communities post COVID

22nd September 2020 - Independent Review of gymnastics in Australia now open for public participation

23rd August 2020 - Lawyer warns that Gymnastics Australia inquiry will reveal ‘spectrum’ of abuse allegations

20th August 2020 - Gymnastics Australia to call the Gold Coast home for the next four years

30th July 2020 - Independent cultural review of Gymnastics in Australia to commence

14th February 2020 - Australian Sports Commission issues statement in response to media claims on spending

6th August 2019 - Gymnastics Australia releases new ‘Body Positive Guidelines’

3rd May 2019 - AusPlay survey shows gymnastics as the fastest growing sport in Victoria

28th March 2019 - Gymnastics Australia aims to set new standard in child safety

9th October 2018 - Gymnastics Australia issues statement in response to reports on National Centre of Excellence

9th October 2018 - Report suggests cruel ‘punishments’ inflicted on child gymnasts at National Centre of Excellence

28th April 2018 - Gymnastics Australia introduces new child safety measures

21st November 2017 - Gymnastics Victoria receives Australian Sports Commission Play By the Rules Award

8th November 2017 - Record-breaking year for gymnastics in Australia

20th October 2017 - Gymnastics Australia appoints Kitty Chiller as new Chief Executive

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security


Felton Industries

Felton Industries is Australia’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of quality outdoor furniture and has been supplying premium seating solutions for all sporting, commercial, community…

read more

Parks / Play / Recreation / Sport / Venues


TicketSearch Pty Ltd

TicketSearch is focused on providing businesses, organisations, and venues with affordable, efficient, and powerful self-managed ticketing solutions. The organisation has offices in Australia, New…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


Perfect Gym

Perfect Gym Solutions is a software as a service (SaaS) solution purpose-built to service the fitness industry, with over 1000 clients servicing over 2 million gym members across 40 countries making…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology


Jonas Leisure

Jonas Software operates over 110 independently managed software brands around the world, providing them with the strategic guidance and financial security required to be leaders in their respective…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport



Humanforce is a global provider of workforce management solutions for companies who need flexibility to manage complex workforces. Companies use Humanforce to manage everything from time and…

read more

Hospitality / Retail / Technology / Venues



Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Recreation


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business