Gymnastics New Zealand releases report following independent review into allegations of abuse
Gymnastics New Zealand has released the report documenting the findings of the independent review which was commissioned following serious and distressing allegations of abuse within the sport.
Last year the Herald outlined multiple allegations of abuse of athletes in the country’s elite gymnastics programmes, including girls as young as 8 being fat-shamed, forced to train through injuries and verbally abused by coaches.
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The review team of David Howman, Dr Lesley Nicol, and Rachel Vickery received more than 200 submissions during the extended review period.
Gymnastics NZ CEO Tony Compier says the report will be crucial in helping the sport repair the hurt and suffering of the past, and ensuring positive change for the future.
He added their work had only just begun.
“It is clear that Gymnastics NZ has a lot to do to ensure our sport is safe, enjoyable, and rewarding for everyone.
“We’d also like to thank everyone who shared their stories and experiences. We understand this would have been a difficult and at times painful process for many and we’d like to acknowledge the courage displayed by those who came forward,” said Compier.
Gymnastics NZ has created a statement of commitment to publicly commit to implementing the recommendations made in the report, and to reinforce their living commitment to change across all levels and all aspects of the sport.
Compier says the first step will be to establish a steering committee which will include survivors, athletes, sector experts and others who are integral to the gymnastics community, to oversee the implementation of the report’s recommendations.
The committee is expected to be in place by the end of March.
Sport NZ CEO Raelene Castle said the review was a critical step in acknowledging the hurt experienced by survivors and healing wounds within the sport.
“The bravery of the survivors who have stepped forward, along with their stories, offers a way forward for the sport and for Gymnastics NZ. We believe the steps being taken by Gymnastics NZ in committing to the implementation of the report’s recommendations and the creation of a steering committee comprising survivors, athletes and others from the community will prompt a positive change to the culture of gymnastics.”
“Sport NZ has supported the process to date and will continue to support Gymnastics NZ with the implementation of these recommendations as a member of their steering committee,” said Castle.
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