Gymnastics Organisation Requests a National Legal Investigation into Sexual and Physical Abuse in the Sport

The federal government is being urged by a group that represents hundreds of gymnasts who have endured abuse at the hands of coaches and sports organizations to convene a national judicial investigation to look into previous wrongdoing.

Kim Shore, co-founder of Gymnasts for Change Canada, a group devoted to ending abuse in gymnastics, spoke before the House of Commons Status of Women Committee and requested a judicial investigation into human rights breaches against athletes of all ages.

Shore, whose organization represents more than 500 past and present gymnasts, claimed that young kids are being pushed too hard to perform and that aggressive instructors are endangering their personal safety.

How many of the committee members had to “choose between the safe haven of their sexually abusive male coach, simply to be spared from the sheer cruelty of their female coach” was the question she posed to them.

One of the first witnesses to appear before the committee, Shore spoke on the safety of women and girls in sports on Monday.

According to her, mistreated children who participate in organized sports frequently go on to damage themselves as adults, have eating problems, struggle with low self-esteem, or need treatment.

Gymnasts for Change Canada co-founder Amelia Cline claimed there is no current national registry to keep track of instructors who have abused gymnasts and have served their punishments.

The leader of Global Athlete, an organization dedicated to addressing what it refers to as “the imbalance of power between athletes and administrators,” is Rob Koehler. He advised the committee to take action to eradicate “bad behaviour” from the sporting community.

Koehler claimed that the existing sports system has “dramatically failed athletes” and that it is impossible to trust sporting organizations to uphold standards of conduct in cases of claims of mental, physical, and sexual abuse.

He urged the government to create an impartial authority to look into complaints of abuse rather than delegating the duty to athletic organizations, which are ill-suited to do so.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual and/or physical abuse and is searching for legal rights and remedies, Slater Vecchio LLP is here to help. Please contact us for a free, private, confidential meeting.

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James Richards
As a member of our class action practice group, I act for survivors harmed by institutional abuses in both class action and individual civil sexual assault claims. I believe that every harmed person deserves to be heard and advocated for.