British Athletes Commission joins forces with NSPCC to launch helpline that will support athletes’ concerns of abuse in British Gymnastics
Helpline, which launched at 9am UK today, will be available 8am-10pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends on 0800 056 0566
The British Athletes Commission (BAC), the independent body that represents and supports the interests of all British athletes, has today partnered with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to launch a helpline that will support athletes’ concerns of abuse in British Gymnastics.
The free and confidential helpline follows many current and retired gymnasts bravely speaking out about concerns of bullying and abuse. Staffed by independent, trained NSPCC counsellors, the helpline will offer support and guidance for children and young people or anyone involved with gymnastics who has safeguarding concerns–acting as a single point of contact for individuals to lodge their concerns, regardless of whether they are funded athletes, former funded athletes, community-level athletes or parents. The helpline is also a safe space for any further whistleblowing and will offer athletes the opportunity to input into the recently announced Independent Review at the appropriate time.
The dedicated NSPCC Helpline is the first component of the newly-established Athlete Support Unit being set up by the BAC, following the recent series of allegations. The Unit, which, once fully up and running, will offer full administrative and welfare support to those cases referred to it, will provide end-to-end support to athletes and families affected by the allegations of abuse.
The helpline, which launched at 9am in the UK today, will be available 8am-10pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends on 0800 056 0566. Trained staff will offer support, advice and guidance, and will refer cases on to other agencies as appropriate, including the police.
The BAC’s Head of Athlete Support, Sam Little said: “We applaud the bravery and courage of those who have spoken up and shared their experiences. Abuse has absolutely no place in modern-day sport, and that’s why, with the launch of the helpline today, we are unveiling what is just the first step in our ambitious package of athlete support measures.
“We want to provide a safe place for athletes and others to come forward and seek support and advice. We recognise how difficult it is to speak out and we know some are fearful to do so. Anyone who has experienced or is experiencing abuse in gymnastics, or who has concerns about the welfare of any gymnast should call this NSPCC helpline – by doing so, you are helping make sport a safer, more welcoming place for the athletes of tomorrow.”
The NSPCC Chief Executive, Peter Wanless said: “The reports emerging from gymnastics in recent weeks have been extremely disturbing – so, with the BAC, we’ve launched this dedicated helpline as it is absolutely vital that anyone who has suffered abuse has the opportunity to speak out and get the help they need.
“We would also urge anyone involved in gymnastics who has safeguarding concerns to contact the helpline in the knowledge that they will be listened to. We are grateful to the BAC for their support and commitment in setting up this important service.”
The BAC will release further details of its Athlete Support Unit at a later date. BAC members can, in the meantime, continue to raise concerns directly with the BAC Athlete Support team via firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will make contact.
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Notes to Editors:
British Athletes Commission
The BAC and NSPCC will have spokespersons available for interviews. Should your enquiry be specifically related to the helpline, please contact the NSPCC.
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