Cyber bullying of women in sport the focus of Sport Integrity Australia-UC project

  • Integrity Blog

Understanding the nature and impact of online harm upon female athletes is the focus of a joint PhD research project with the University of Canberra which announced yesterday.

In what is a continuation of our partnership with the University of Canberra (UC), the initiative is aimed at strengthening our capabilities to deal with threats to integrity.

Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe said the PhD research project was “vital to help stem the scourge of online abuse directed at sportswomen”.

“When it comes to cyber bullying, the PhD is the Australian Government taking the lead with UC to better understand the problem and how we might respond to it because it’s becoming a bigger problem than we can manage alone,” he said.

“Partnering with a world-leading tertiary institute is critical to inform our business and to provide us with evidence-based approach to sport integrity responses.”

Mr Sharpe said it was important to partner with the likes of the University of Canberra and other agencies, such as the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, to best understand how to address this emerging and ever-growing threat to sport and the community more broadly. 

Cyber-hate and trolling are often experienced by women in sport and are more prevalent against women of colour and women with a disability. Research has shown that this has been identified as a barrier to entry and retention.

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said this partnership “connects us to the real challenges”.

“With Sport Integrity Australia at the forefront of sport integrity and we, as a university leading sport integrity research in Australia, this partnership is very unique,” he said.  

“This has been done in very few places in the world.”

He said the MoU between Sport Integrity Australia and the University of Canberra also allowed for future collaboration between the two bodies in scientific and integrity in sport research.

UC Director of Sport Carrie Graf said sport integrity was an important theme running through the university’s entire sporting strategy so “the partnership with Sport Integrity Australia is absolutely critical to the growth and work we are doing”.

“The research we can do in partnership with Sport Integrity Australia can have a major impact on the community more broadly, not just the sports community. It’s such a critical piece in the sport industry.”

Associate Professor Dr Catherine Ordway, the Sport Integrity Research Lead at the university, said the partnership had far-reaching possibilities beyond the PhD announced today.

“What we want to do is set up an international hub for research because no one organisation and no one country can answer all the different challenges and threats to sport,” she said. 

So, it’s really that we work with the best minds across a number of different industries and feed that into the sports industry. So that’s what we want to do is set up an international research hub here at the University of Canberra so that we can draw on all those minds and start solving some of these problems, so it does feed through, both at the community level and all the way through to the high-performance level.”

Paddy Nixon and David Sharpe at the signing of a joint PhD research project on cyberbullying
Paddy Nixon and David Sharpe at the signing of a joint PhD research project on cyberbullying

Photos of attendees at the signing of a joint PhD research project on cyberbullying

Related information