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Former WAIS gymnasts receive state government apology for abuse and ‘unacceptable conduct’

The WA Government has apologized to gymnasts who suffered alleged abuse and mistreatment while participating in the Western Australian Institute of Sport’s women’s artistic gymnastics program over a 28-year period.

Sports and Recreation Secretary David Templeman has also directed his department to undertake a “comprehensive review of the WAIS’ governance and culture” and set up a specialist child protection unit to ensure the protection of children at all levels of sport.

The new entity was hailed as “a leading step in protecting young athletes in Western Australia” by Gymnast Alliance Australia (GAA), which represents many of the former child gymnasts who have suffered while training in what was supposed to be a safe environment.

A group of girls in leotards posing with gym equipment.
The WAIS’ elite gymnastics program in 1996 included former Olympian Jen Smith (above) who contributed to a review of alleged abuse.(delivered)

The Department of Local Government, Sports and Culture Industries will also step in to ensure WAIS conducts a proper recovery and reconciliation process.

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