Gymnastics Australia announces plans to implement a Restorative Engagement Scheme

17 December 2021

Gymnastics Australia recognises the importance of supporting our participants and their families who have had an unacceptable experience within the sport. As part of this commitment, we will be introducing a Restorative Engagement Scheme (Scheme) in 2022.

Following the release of the Change the Routine Report in May 2021, Gymnastics Australia made a formal acknowledgement and unreserved apology to all athletes and family members who had experienced any form of abuse while participating in the sport. But for many people, Gymnastics Australia acknowledges that this is not enough. Drawing on best practice experience for restorative engagement, the Scheme will provide a forum where individuals can be heard, acknowledged, and provided with a personal apology.  

Working with the National Sports Tribunal and Associate Professor Jane Bolitho, an expert in restorative justice, individuals and their families will be provided with an opportunity to speak with a representative from Gymnastics Australia. Trained and experienced restorative justice facilitators will manage all meetings to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all participants. Individuals and their families will be consulted throughout the process and will be provided with the opportunity to offer suggestions about future practices that Gymnastic Australia could look to implement.

Participation in the Scheme is voluntary and will initially be made available to all athletes and their families who made a formal complaint as part of the Supplementary Complaints Management Policy facilitated by Sport Integrity Australia and the National Sports Tribunal in 2020. The Scheme will be monitored and reviewed by the Centre for Restorative Practice at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, with a long-term goal of broadening this Scheme to all Members.

Further information will be made available to eligible participants early in 2022.