Victorian greyhound racing not immune to culture of silence around harassment

Victorian greyhounds

Harassment and mistreatment have been allowed to persist in all three codes of the racing industry in Victoria, with victims enduring violence, attacks, and sexual assaults, according to a report published by the Victorian Commissioner on Wednesday.

The report acknowledges that the industry has fostered a tight-knit community where traditions have been deeply ingrained for generations.

However, this sense of community has also created an environment where harassment, abuse, and assault have occurred without consequences.

While the majority of incidents have occurred overwhelmingly in the thoroughbred industry, the industry represented 19% of complaints.

A small number of complaints spanned more than one racing code.

The report highlights how a culture of silence within the industry has discouraged reporting due to patterns and widespread discouragement.

Disturbingly, those who have spoken up about their experiences have often faced retaliation.

There is a perception that abusers have been shielded from accountability.

During his review of the industry, Victorian Racing Commissioner Sean Carroll heard distressing testimonies detailing sexual abuse such as rape, sexual assault, physical assault, degrading initiation practices, ritualised violence, grooming tactics, and harassment.

Children as young as 12 years old and young recruits were, among the victims affected by these incidents, which also occurred in recent years.

Responding to the report, Greyhound (GRV) CEO said, ““We apologise to survivors for the harm they experienced from past failures to protect them.

“GRV commits to learning from the Report, so we can play our part in driving a better future for the Victorian racing industry.

“We will continue to work with our participants, clubs and key stakeholders and with other codes to promote a culture within racing where silence or inaction in the face of abuse and harassment are not tolerated.

The Victorian Racing Minister, , sent out a statement saying, “The review identified significant cultural and safety issues across the industry, including experiences of physical and sexual abuse, assault, and harassment.

“These allegations are unacceptable and deeply distressing. I would like to extend my respect and thanks to the victim survivors who courageously shared their experiences to inform the review.

“Their voices have been heard and will drive meaningful and enduring change.

“We expect that those affected by this unacceptable behaviour will get access to the support and services they need.”

The full report from the Victorian Office Of Racing Integrity can be read here: Independent Review into Victorian Racing Industry Victim Support and Complaint Processes

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