26 September 2023

ASC launches program for abused sportspeople

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The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has announced that former and past scholarship athletes with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) who experienced harm from inappropriate practices or abuse as a result of their time at the AIS are to have access to a new ASC Restorative Program.

According to the Chair of ASC, Josephine Sukkar, the ASC Restorative Program is an opportunity for scholarship athletes who were part of the AIS from 1981 to 2013 to share their experience safely and receive acknowledgment and support.

Ms Sukkar said the Program would ensure the athletes were heard, supported and had an opportunity for their experience to be formally acknowledged by senior representatives of the ASC.

She said it was crucial for the ASC to acknowledge its past and commit to positively impacting the culture of sport now and in the future.

“Almost 9,000 athletes held AIS scholarships between 1981 and 2013 and while we know many people had a positive experience, unfortunately some athletes were treated inappropriately,” Ms Sukkar said.

“The Program has been established to help our former athletes report and raise concerns directly with the ASC about practices at the AIS that were detrimental to their wellbeing.”

Chief Executive of the ASC, Kieren Perkins encouraged any former AIS scholarship athletes to contact the Program if they suffered harm from their time at the AIS.

“Abuse of any nature has no place in Australian sport,” Mr Perkins said.

“The ASC Restorative Program has been developed in consultation with restorative engagement experts and consultation with stakeholders and athlete representative groups,” he said.

“We encourage you to contact the Program, which includes access to counselling and support services, the opportunity to engage with senior representatives from the ASC and AIS and a restoration payment for eligible individuals.”

He said engagement with the Program would be confidential and will play a critical role in informing the practices of the sports sector in the future.

Individuals can apply for the program via the ASC website at this PS News link.

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