RV, VJA & ATA Media Statement on review into victim support and complaint processes

The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (ORIC) today released the Final Report on the Independent Review into the Victorian Racing Industry’s (VRI) Victim Support and Complaint Processes (the Review).

The Review followed a joint referral from Racing Victoria (RV), Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) to ORIC aimed at ensuring that the VRI delivers safe, respectful, and inclusive work environments.

RV Chief Executive, Andrew Jones, said: “The Final Report is extensive and confronting.  It contains accounts of experiences across the past 50 years that no-one should be subjected to.

“While the Review covered all three codes, it is clear there were unacceptable practices in the thoroughbred racing industry.

“And, while the industry has come a long way, there are still issues to deal with.

“We thank sincerely those who had the courage to come forward and share their experiences.

“We acknowledge the harm suffered and, on behalf of the industry, apologise for it.

“No one should experience physical or sexual abuse, assault or harassment, including in their workplace, and everyone, from employers to colleagues, has a role in ensuring that. 

“Racing’s workplaces have changed substantially for the better. The Final Report recognises that we have taken comprehensive steps to better prevent and respond to harm.

“However, it makes clear that we have more work to do. This includes ensuring those experiencing harm have greater confidence to come forward.

“Should a serious workplace issue arise, we want all participants to know that they have free and confidential pathways open to support them.

“Our independent counselling service Stableline, our Participant Protection and Wellbeing Managers, and Jockey Assistance Program are all available to support participants and their families.

“RV will now work through each of the detailed recommendations in the Final Report and look at how best to add to our existing programs and processes.

“We thank the Commissioner and Review team for the work undertaken.”

Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) Executive Officer, Matt Hyland, said: “The people who came forward to participate in the Review are courageous.

“The Final Report details that, in the past, there were clearly people who experienced appalling assault and abuse while working in thoroughbred racing. 

“While our industry has clearly progressed in recent times with more supports and safer environments, that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t do more for all our members, past and present.”

Australian Trainers' Association (ATA) Chief Executive, Andrew Nicholl said: “The Final Report provides for stark reading.  We echo the sentiments expressed by RV – no one would disagree, one victim of physical or sexual abuse, assault or harassment is one too many. 

“It is also clear the ATA, an industry body representing licensed trainers, has a vital role to play helping educate our members on their responsibilities as employers.  Employees, as a basic right, must feel safe, secure and supported in their workplace – anything less is simply unacceptable.” 

Should the publication of the Final Report raise concerns for any industry participant RV encourages you to contact the following services for free and confidential support, or utilise other publicly available services: