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Gymnastics Australia introduces new child safety measures

Gymnastics Australia introduces new child safety measures
April 28, 2018

In the wake of the scandal surrounding USA Gymnastics and a range of local child protection issues, Gymnastics Australia and its eight State and Territory Member Associations, have this week announced new child safety guidelines.

Designed to protect the safety, wellbeing and empowerment of all children and young people accessing its programs and services - 91% of whom are under 12 years old - Gymnastics Australia’s National Child Safety Commitment Statement demonstrates the collective prioritisation by all to child safety, and gymnastics’ leadership in this space.  

Advising that the release of the statement is another important milestone in the sport’s focus in the area of child protection, Gymnastics Australia Chief Executive Kitty Chiller stated “2018 will see our collective prioritisation and focus in the child safety area. We are forming a National Child Safety Working Group and have just appointed a specialist Child Safety Coordinator, Phoebe Pownall; a resource to be shared with Gymnastics Victoria.

“With 91% of our 220,000+ athlete members aged under 12, child safety is the highest priority for the GA Board, Senior Management, and all States and Territories. We are currently updating our resources, including our Member Protection Policy, Code of Conduct, and Team and touring documentation, with a host of additional projects set to further strengthen our processes and procedures. We will commit to doing everything possible to provide a safe environment for children to participate in the sport of gymnastics.”

Advising that the commitment adds to existing guidelines, Chiller added “what we are doing now is formalising practices that have already been in place.”

A child safety coordinator has been appointed and a National Child Safety Working Group is being formed to ensure children are safe while training and touring.

Gymnastics Australia carried out an audit of its policies and procedures after the USA Gymnastics scandal.

Chiller said that audit did not uncover any practices that needed to be changed but she said the USA Gymnastics case made it clear athletes need to be empowered to speak up when they see abuse.

She went on to state "it's all very well to have policies and we had policies, we had procedures.

"What we're doing now is just really making sure every single one of our members all understand what those policies are about to effect behavioural change."

With tThe Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Board having released a Child Safe Commitment Statement in 2017, and ASC Chief Executive Kate Palmer, commended Gymnastics Australia for taking these steps to prioritise child safe environments.

Palmer advied “as the ASC Board made clear, child safety must be embedded in every Australian sporting organisation’s culture, reflected in their policies and procedures, and understood and practised at all levels of the sport.

“In conjunction with the ASC, GA will be rolling out a Club Toolkit to our 600+Affiliated Clubs across Australia, to assist them with implementing Child Friendly practices within their facilities. GA will endeavour to ensure that every member of the gymnastics community across the country – whether an athlete, coach, official, administrator, parent, guardian or spectator – has access to the resources and information needed to ensure they or the children in their care feel safe and empowered.”

Image used for illustrative purposes only.

8th November 2017 - RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR GYMNASTICS IN AUSTRALIA

20th October 2017 - GYMNASTICS AUSTRALIA APPOINTS KITTY CHILLER AS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE 

17th September 2017 - SPORTS COMMISSION LOOKS TO OFFER CHILD SAFEGUARDING FRAMEWORK FOR SPORT

10th September 2017 - RECORD GROWTH IN GYMNASTICS PARTICIPATION IN VICTORIA 

31st August 2017 - GYMNASTICS AUSTRALIA IN GOOD SHAPE AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE RENDELL MOVES ON

22nd August 2017 - GYMNASTICS VICTORIA PRESENTED WITH VICTORIAN DISABILITY AWARD

11th July 2017 - TENNIS AUSTRALIA STRENGTHENS SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN MEASURES 

16th March 2017 - JOHN WYLIE REAPPOINTED TO LEAD AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION THROUGH TO THE TOKYO OLYMPICS

16th September 2016 - YMCA AUSTRALIA ISSUES PUBLIC APOLOGY TO PAST VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE 

1st September 2016 - AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION COMMITS TO WINNING EDGE PRINCIPLES AND FURTHER REFORMS 

3rd July 2014 - YMCA NSW APOLOGISES FOR FAILING TO PROTECT CHILDREN 


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