Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing Victoria, and Harness Racing Victoria, the controlling bodies of the Victorian Racing Industry (VRI), have written to the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (ORIC) to request an independent review into the current processes for addressing physical or sexual abuse, assault or harassment allegations within the industry. This review should be informed by an understanding of the experiences of complainants.
The racing codes have become aware of historical allegations of physical and sexual assaults by people who were, at the time, participants in the VRI. Where appropriate and supported by the complainant these allegations have been referred to police for investigation and counselling support has been offered.
In light of allegations across the three racing codes, the codes have been engaging with ORIC over recent months to determine how best to support victims and address historical allegations, and to ensure that the appropriate frameworks are now in place to deliver a safe VRI for current and future participants.
Following these discussions, the VRI has today requested that Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner undertake the following:
- Implement an independent opportunity for historic victims of physical or sexual abuse, assault or harassment, within the VRI to report concerns and complaints to someone independent of the racing industry and to access support services as required;
- Engage a suitably qualified independent reviewer to examine existing processes and systems across the VRI for identifying and preventing physical or sexual abuse, assault, and harassment, and the capacity and capability of the controlling bodies to respond to complaints including a consideration of complainant’s experiences; and
- Provide a report that details relevant findings and recommendations on measures to achieve best practice across the VRI.
Recommendations from the review will help map a pathway to VRI best practice in preventing, identifying, and responding to any future complaints of this nature.
The VRI is committed to fostering and promoting the safety and welfare of people participating in the industry and to building on existing structures to ensure the best support for victims of physical or sexual abuse, assault or harassment.
The codes acknowledge the courage shown by those who have come forward and strongly encourage anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, assault, or harassment to do the same in the knowledge that their complaint will be addressed with sensitivity and in confidence.
Each of the codes currently provide confidential telephone counselling and complaint processes which will remain available.
Alternatively, any participant wishing to participate in the review can register their interest at email@example.com or call 1300 896 049.