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Change the routine: report on the independent review into gymnastics in Australia

Sexual harassment Sexual misconduct Bullying Girls Sports participation Australia

This review into gymnastics in Australia was requested by Gymnastics Australia following the release of the documentary 'Athlete A.' The documentary sparked a global sharing of experiences of abuse in the sport, via social media, with several former athletes and parents of former athletes coming forward in Australia.

By engaging with members and former members across the gymnastics community in Australia, and undertaking a high-level evaluation of policy and procedures, the review led to a comprehensive understanding of the culture of the sport, including systemic risk factors for child abuse and neglect, misconduct, bullying, abuse, sexual harassment and assault towards athletes. Some of these risk factors also exist in many other sports, including significant power disparities between athletes and coaches and administrators. However, the Commission found that unique facets of gymnastics, including the extremely high proportion of young female athletes, contribute to a high-risk environment for abuse and for the maintenance and reinforcement of negative societal stereotypes and ideals around gender.

Placing the voices of children and young people and their families at the centre, this report outlines the Commission’s key findings and presents 12 recommendations for whole of sport change. The implementation of the Commission’s recommendations requires engagement and action across all levels of the sport. Such action will be a step towards achieving transformative cultural change and ensuring that the human rights of gymnasts across Australia are upheld.

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