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Independent Review into Victorian Racing Industry Victim Support and Complaint Processes

The Racing Integrity Commissioner is conducting an independent review of Victorian racing industry victim support and complaint processes (Review).

The Review establishes an opportunity for victims of physical and sexual abuse, physical and sexual assault and sexual harassment within the Victorian racing industry to report their experiences.

It will hear about the lived experiences and expectations of victims, inquire into systemic issues, and examine the industry’s processes and systems to prevent and respond to abuse, assault and harassment, to ensure they are effective and appropriate.

The Review 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, as appropriate for those who seek it.

The aim of the Review is to ensure that worker well-being is at the forefront of the Victorian racing industry. The Commissioner will not investigate or make findings about individual allegations of abuse, assault and harassment as part of the Review.

The Review was established following a joint referral by the three Victorian racing controlling bodies – Racing Victoria Limited, Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria – to the Racing Integrity Commissioner.

The Commissioner will publicly report on the Review’s findings and recommendations at the completion of the Review.

Read the Commissioner's media statement on 25 March 2022 announcing the Review here

Read the Commissioner’s media statement on 28 July 2022 announcing the expert Review team and the Terms of Reference here

HAVE YOUR SAY

The Racing Integrity Commissioner encourages all Victorian racing industry workers and volunteers to share their experiences, observations, and suggestions for improvement with the Review team.

This can be done by completing a confidential online survey, taking part in a confidential interview with a Review team member, or by making a written submission.  How to take part and what is involved is explained below.

All information provided to the Commissioner and Review team will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be securely stored.

Register your interest to take part by contacting the dedicated Review hotline on 1300 896 049 or at review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.

For more information about taking part in the Review, see –

The Commissioner acknowledges that discussing sexual and physical abuse, assault and harassment can cause distress and discomfort.  If you experience distress or discomfort, please refer to the support services that provide counselling and others forms of support available at the bottom of this page.

PARTICIPATING IN THE REVIEW

Who can participate?

To take part in the Review, you must be aged 18 years or older and fall within at least one of the following categories:

  • people who work* or have previously worked in thoroughbred, harness or greyhound racing in Victoria
  • people who volunteer or have previously volunteered in thoroughbred, harness or greyhound racing in Victoria
  • organisations and experts that have direct experience or expertise in areas under the Review.

*Note: the term ‘work’ is broad and is intended to include anyone engaging in paid and unpaid work, such as employees, contractors and subcontractors (and employees of contractors and subcontractors), labour hire workers, apprentices and trainees, students, interns and volunteers.

How do I take part?

There are different ways to participate in the Review.  You can contribute by:

  • completing an online survey
  • making a written submission, and/or
  • participating in an in-person or online interview.

To be involved in the Review, you will need to give your consent by completing the Participant Consent Form.

Participation in the Review is voluntary and confidential.

Register your interest to take part by contacting the dedicated Review hotline on 1300 896 049 or at review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.

What is involved?

If you choose to participate, the Review team will ask you questions based on the Terms of Reference, including about:

  • your experience in the Victorian racing industry
  • your experience of physical and sexual abuse, assault and harassment in Victorian racing industry workplaces, including if you have witnessed these behaviours or have knowledge of them occurring in the Victorian racing industry
  • your knowledge of relevant industry policies, practices and processes
  • your insights about the culture of the Victorian racing industry generally and any suggestions you have about how the industry can improve its response to dealing with allegations of abuse, assault and harassment.

The Review team is interested in hearing about both positive and negative experiences.

It is your choice to share as much or as little of your knowledge and experiences as you want. You can also share your experiences with the Review even if you are not sure that your experience is abuse, assault or harassment.

Participating in the Review will not involve you having to substantiate or prove what happened to you – you have the right to share your experiences and be believed.

Who is conducting the Review?

The Review is being conducted by the Racing Integrity Commissioner who is supported by a dedicated Review team of suitably experienced and qualified experts to ensure it 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 and sexual abuse, assault and harassment in the Victorian racing industry.

What is the online survey?

As part of evidence gathering for the Review, the Commissioner will administer a survey to seek specific data about the prevalence of physical and sexual abuse, assault and harassment in the Victorian racing industry, and levels of reporting of these behaviours.

The survey is confidential and can be anonymous.  It is not compulsory or a pre-condition to participation in an interview or making a written submission.  The results of the survey will be included in the final report of the Review.

To participate, go to the Online Survey.  You will need to give your consent to take part at the start of the survey. If you need help with the survey, please contact the Review team at review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.

For more information about the types of questions you will be asked in the survey, see the What is involved? section above.

How do I participate in a confidential interview?

The Review team will be conducting confidential interviews, either in person or via video conference.  Interviews are entirely voluntary, and you do not have to answer any questions you do not want to.  You can bring a support person with you to the interview.

Interviews will be recorded, and written notes will be taken by the Review team, with your permission.  Before an interview is conducted, you will be asked to read the Participant Information Sheet and complete the Participant Consent Form.  You can book an interview via the Review team at review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.

For more information about the types of questions you will be asked in the interview, see the What is involved? section above.

What is a submission and how do I make one?

You can share your experiences by providing a written submission and emailing it to the Review team at review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.  Alternatively, you can mail your written submission to:

The Review

Racing Integrity Commissioner

PO Box 24034, 111 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3001

Your submission can be as long or as short as you like, and we are interested in hearing about both the positive and negative experiences. Submissions can be anonymous.  You can use the questions in the What is involved? section above as a guide for what to include.

Please note that by providing a written submission you are not making a complaint or report.

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.

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? 

An interim report for the Review will be provided in December 2022.

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

How do I access support and assistance or participate in the Review?

If you want to be involved in the Review and–

  • would like to discuss how we can support your involvement by providing appropriate supports and/or adjustments
  • want to complete the survey, book in for an interview and/or make a written submission
  • need help to complete the survey or make a written submission
  • want to access support or counselling
  • need help to report what happened to you to the police or other appropriate authority–

please contact the Review team via our dedicated hotline on 1300 896 049 or email review@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au.

The Review team includes expert counsellors and psychologists who can offer you support throughout the process, and access and referral to ongoing support and specialist counselling.  A list of other services that provide counselling and support is available below.

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 03 Oct 2022