Eradicating a Culture of Abuse: Learnings From The Whyte Review

British Gymnastics Whyte Review

Following the Whyte Review in 2022, British Gymnastics was recently featured in an ITV documentary looking at abuse in the sport. In this post we’ll discuss the lessons for us all, and explore how organisations can work towards a safer culture.

You can watch the documentary here.

The effects of abuse are wide ranging, and can be devastating both for the survivors and for those close to them. The gymnasts featured in this documentary showed great bravery in speaking out and sharing their stories.

Communication is key. Anyone involved in a complaint, or a safeguarding concern, needs to know what is happening at every step of the way. We need to make people feel they are part of the process, and we must not lose sight of individual wants and needs.

All Concerns Matter

We need to pay attention and take appropriate action whenever anyone raises a concern. It does not matter where the concern has come from, and it does not matter what evidence the person presents. We need to take every concern seriously.

Never forget that so-called ‘lower level’ concerns can easily escalate. Also, appropriately recording lower level concerns may, over time, point to a pattern of abusive behaviour.

Make Reporting Straightforward and Accessible

Do people in your sport understand the process for reporting concerns? Don’t let this become a barrier. If you’re working for an NGB, you must make the reporting process both accessible and supportive.

Even concerns that do not meet the threshold for police action still present a risk to sport, and to the individuals who participate.

We must not allow poor behaviours to become normalised within our sports. We must all work together to address culture and environment.

The Whyte Review could act as a catalyst for lasting improvement. You can learn more about how British Gymnastics are working to reform their sport here.