Addressing Safeguarding Issues in Gymnastics – Progress Update

Safeguarding Gymnastics

Gymnastics NZ Apologises for Past Abuses and Outlines a Plan for Change.

In late 2020, elite former NZ gymnasts made a number of allegations of physical and psychological abuse.

Gymnastics NZ, the sport’s governing body, quickly commissioned an independent review. They released their report in early February 2021, which you can read here.

After releasing their report, Gymnastics NZ issued an apology for these past abuses. They also outlined certain areas where we might see change. These include coaching standards, the complaints process, and organisation structures. They also pledged to renew their focus on athlete’s health, safety, and wellbeing.

Addressing Safeguarding Issues in British Gymnastics

2020 also saw abuse allegations in British gymnastics. We’re already seeing efforts to address the culture.

Critics of the Gymnastics NZ report point out that they have not considered “the voice” of athletes. When it comes to embedding safeguarding, listening is key. Our safeguarding elite athletes lead Kimberley Walsh wrote about the importance of hearing the voice of athletes. You can read her piece here, which also features practical tips on gathering and acting on feedback from athletes.

Kimberley also wrote about how we might stop harmful cultures from taking hold in clubs and organisations. Her piece outlines some of the cultural and organisational changes that could help prevent abuse. You can read it here.

Finally, in late 2020 we saw the launch of the Whyte Review. Chaired by Anne Whyte QC, this is an independent review into allegations that British Gymnastics have failed to deal appropriately with complaints it had received. The review called for people to contribute evidence, and they’re now in the process of preparing their report. But you can watch a video update on the project below:

For more information about the move to address safeguarding issues in British gymnastics, head to the Whyte Review’s website.