The BAC – working in collaboration with chartered psychologist Dr Misia Gervis – has launched a series of online group therapy sessions designed to provide support for any gymnast who has experienced alleged or perceived abuse within their sporting environment.
The sessions are the latest step in the BAC’s package of support measures for gymnasts who came forward this year to report issues within gymnastics, an independent review of which – the Whyte Review – is currently under way.
The BAC and Dr Gervis (operating as PrimeMind) have linked up to provide sessions tailored to support both gymnasts and their parents/guardians, all of which will be facilitated by sport and exercise psychologists and mental health clinicians.
The sessions will give gymnasts a platform to find their voice, and allow them to start to process their experiences in such a way that they feel empowered and in control of their recovery, while the programme will allow parents or guardians to understand and process the nature of the abuse within gymnastics, and how it may have impacted their family.
The athlete support measures – including the online sessions – have been designed to ensure that individuals affected receive effective and appropriate guidance. The BAC is continuing its dialogue with all individuals who raised their concerns, and developing initiatives which offer in-depth support to those most affected.
Samantha Little, the BAC’s Head of Athlete Support, said:
“Over the past few months, the BAC has worked tirelessly in partnership with the NSPCC to ensure that gymnasts wishing to report instances of abuse can do so, and that their courage is rewarded with a safe, confidential environment in which to share their experiences, which is what our helpline has provided.
“We have also been determined to put in place long-term support measures for these gymnasts and their families, and we are therefore pleased to have started these sessions in collaboration with PrimeMind, which will both support and empower gymnasts as they continue to process their experiences, and set out their recovery.
“Expert therapists will be conducting each session, with confidentiality being paramount and follow-up support available where needed.”
The BAC continues to offer support to anyone affected by instances of abuse within gymnastics. The NSPCC helpline can be contacted on 0800 056 0566, while the BAC’s athlete support team is available here.