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Independent Review into Victorian Racing Industry Victim Support and Complaint Processes

On Friday 25 March 2022, the Racing Integrity Commissioner announced an independent review into Victorian racing industry workplaces (Review).

The announcement follows a joint referral made by the three Victorian racing controlling bodies – Racing Victoria Limited, Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria – requesting the Commissioner establish an independent opportunity for victims of sexual harassment and sexual or physical assault within the Victorian racing industry to report their experiences, ensure victims are provided with appropriate support and access to counselling, and to review the industry’s current processes and systems for handling such complaints.

Read the Commissioner’s full media statement (March 2022) here

On 28 July 2022, the Commissioner announced the establishment of an expert Review Team to assist with the conduct of the Review.  He also published the Review’s Terms of Reference.

Read the Commissioner’s full media statement (July 2022) here

FAQs

How do I participate in the Review?

If you have already registered your interest to participate in the Review, you will be contacted by the Review Team and directed to the confidential online Review Survey which is now live and allows anyone who has experienced abuse, assault or harassment in a Victorian racing workplace to share their story and experience.

If you have not yet registered your interest in taking part in the Review and would like to participate, you can do so by directly accessing and completing the confidential online Review Survey.

If you–

  • need assistance to complete the survey
  • would like to volunteer to participate in a more detailed interview about your experiences
  • want to access support or counselling services, or
  • need help to report what happened to you to the appropriate authority–

please contact either the dedicated Review hotline on 1300 896 049 or the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner at review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.

Participation in the Review is voluntary and confidential.

Who will conduct the Review?

The Racing Integrity Commissioner is conducting the Review and will be supported by a dedicated team of suitably experienced and qualified experts (Review Team) to ensure the Review is conducted with the required sensitivity, confidentiality and independence.

The Commissioner has appointed highly respected barrister, Ms Regina Weiss, as Review Lead. Ms Weiss is a former Director of Legal at Sport Integrity Australia and has significant experience in this field. She has conducted similar reviews into allegations of historical abuse in sport, including leading Sport Integrity Australia’s independent review into the West Australian Institute of Sport Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Program.

Former Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, Ms Kristen Hilton, has also accepted an appointment as an Expert Adviser to the Review Team.  Ms Hilton has worked extensively with organisational leaders across the public, private and community sectors to embed positive cultures in their workplaces. She is currently leading the cultural review of the adult custodial corrections system commissioned by the Victorian Government.

Ms Laura Johnston, a qualified lawyer with a strong background in people, culture, sport integrity, ethics and safeguarding, has also been appointed as a Member of the Review Team.  Ms Johnston works across a range of national and state sporting bodies, as well as with other not-for-profit, corporate and individual clients, providing advice and developing resources, including complaint handling and compliance policies and processes.

The Commissioner has also engaged specialist counsellors and psychologists as part of the Review Team so that professional support can be provided to anyone who has been impacted by physical or sexual abuse, physical or sexual assault and/or sexual harassment in the VRI.

Why is the Review being conducted?

In March 2022 the three Victorian racing controlling bodies (Racing Victoria Limited, Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria) made a joint referral requesting the Racing Integrity Commissioner establish an independent opportunity to–

  • facilitate people to report their experiences of physical and sexual abuse, physical and sexual assault and sexual harassment within Victorian thoroughbred, harness or greyhound racing workplaces
  • ensure victims are provided with appropriate support and access to counselling
  • review the industry’s current processes and systems for handling such complaints.

What will the Review achieve?

The Review will inquire into systemic issues and examine the industry’s processes and systems for identifying, preventing and handling issues of sexual harassment and physical or sexual abuse and assault, to ensure they represent best practice and provide safe and respectful workplaces for everyone who works in the Victorian racing industry.

The Review will allow the Victorian racing industry to gain a better understanding of the experiences and expectations of people who currently work, or have previously worked, within the Victorian thoroughbred, harness or greyhound racing codes.

It will also provide clear referral and access pathways to counselling and other supports for all who need it, including specialist trauma counselling, and to law enforcement and other agencies, for those who seek it and as appropriate.

For more information, see the Review’s Terms of Reference.

What is not covered by the Review?

The Review’s focus is on systemic issues and not individual cases.  It will therefore not investigate or make findings about individual allegations.

Existing complaints will not form part of the Review and will be dealt with through existing processes. The Review will provide clear pathways to refer new complaints to the appropriate body, including Victoria Police, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Right Commission, or relevant Controlling Body.

How long will the Review take?

The Review formally commenced in July 2022.

An interim report will be provided in December 2022.

A final report is due on or before the end June 2023.

ACCESSING SUPPORT

The Racing Integrity Commissioner acknowledges that discussing sexual harassment and sexual or physical assault can cause distress and discomfort.

The Commissioner has established an independent and confidential telephone support line for all current and former Victorian racing industry participants seeking referral to confidential, trauma-informed counselling services for people who have experienced sexual harassment and sexual or physical assault in a Victorian racing industry workplace.

The support line can also provide supported referrals to other specialist services and can be contacted by calling:
1300 896 049.

For a list of other services that provide counselling and others forms of support, please click here

Page last updated 22 Aug 2022