Report: 'Harassment, Abuse And Assault Have Taken Place Unchecked' Across Australian Racing Industry - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Report: ‘Harassment, Abuse And Assault Have Taken Place Unchecked’ Across Australian Racing Industry

Australia's Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (ORIC) has released a dramatic final report on its Independent Review into the Victorian Racing Industry's Victim Support and Complaint Processes. The report details a work environment “where harassment, abuse and assault have taken place unchecked.”

Especially prevalent in the report is that such abuse has been seriously underreported.

“The dark flip side of loyalty has been a culture of silence across the industry that is underpinned by an historical and widespread, tacit discouragement of reporting,” the report said. “At times, those who have raised complaints have been the subject of overt retaliation. A number hold the perception that perpetrators of abuse have been protected.”

Racing Victoria's 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 (Thoroughbred, Harness, and Greyhound racing), 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, apologize 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 recognizes 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.”

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.”

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