Helpline for abuse concerns in British Gymnastics to close

Those affected can still contact NSPCC Helpline

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At the end of February we will close our specialist helpline for support with concerns of abuse in British Gymnastics. Created in partnership with the British Athletes Commission, the helpline has taken over 220 calls to date.

Since July 20th 2020, the helpline has provided free, confidential support and guidance to anyone involved with gymnastics with safeguarding concerns.

Our main helpline – available on 0808 800 5000 and online – will still be on-hand to offer support to anyone affected and our trained counsellors will still have access to the BAC’s package of support measures.


Helpline details

If you've been affected, or have concerns about mistreatment in gymnastics, please contact the helpline on 0800 056 0566.

From 1st March onwards, please contact our main helpline on 0808 800 5000.

221 calls were taken by the specialist helpline by the end of January. Over half of these contacts resulted in a referral to an external agency, such as the police or social services. Evidence from these contacts has also been submitted to the Whyte Review, and many callers were referred to the BAC for further support, including online therapy sessions.

One mother told the helpline:

"My daughter attended a gymnastics club from the age of five until she was seven... The coach screamed and shouted and pushed her to the floor even when she was crying. The coach told my daughter that if she complained to her parents, she would be made to train even harder. Other coaches saw these incidents and never intervened."

The Whyte Review into allegations of mistreatment within the sport is ongoing, while British Gymnastics has launched its own independent complaints process, to address individual complaints that were made to the BAC and NSPCC helpline from July through to October.

The BAC and NSPCC have continued to work together to ensure that individuals and their families have received comprehensive and effective support following their calls to the helpline.

So far, 34 individuals and their families have completed online therapy sessions run in conjunction with Dr Misia Gervis (operating as PrimeMind), which were launched to support affected athletes. The BAC has collected anonymous feedback from these sessions, and found that participants have reported a positive impact:

"Being part of a group of other people that understand and ‘get it’ has been very empowering. It’s been a time of reflection and I feel the techniques and processes the therapists helped us with is something that I'll continue to use and reflect on."

Louise Exton, NSPCC Helpline Service Head, said:

“Since allegations of abuse and mistreatment from high profile athletes shook the foundations of gymnastics in the UK, we’ve heard from more and more people with similar experiences.

It is crucial that everyone has their voices heard to be able to better safeguard future generations and our joint helpline with the BAC has been vital in enabling this to happen.

Despite the closure of the dedicated helpline, it is never too late to speak out about your experiences to seek support, and we urge anyone with a concern to get in touch.”

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