University partnership to educate sport on the current threat environment

  • Integrity Blog

In March 2022 Sport Integrity Australia and Victoria University (VU) ran the first Managing Integrity in Sport course to raise awareness and understanding of integrity threats and to upskill participants in sport integrity management as it relates to the National Integrity Framework (NIF).

Over the past 18 months, the three-day professional short course has been run five times, with almost 150 participants across approximately 70 sporting organisations leaving the course with credit towards a Graduate Certificate in Sport Integrity.

Covering aspects such as member protection, child safeguarding, improper use of drugs and medications, competition manipulation and sports wagering, anti-doping and complaints management, Sport Integrity Australia’s Director of Education Alexis Cooper said the course focused participants’ minds on the detail behind integrity policies, as well as helping to build a community of advocates passionate about protecting the safety of all members in sport.

“This course is really about helping participants understand the “what”, the “why” and the “how” behind integrity policies,” Ms Cooper said.

“We start with the “what”, so participants understand the types of problems and issues we are trying to address, before moving to the “why”, which is where we delve in to helping participants understand what is at stake and why it’s so important to strengthen all our integrity policies and protect people in sport.

“We then end on the “how” - giving participants hands-on opportunities to manage real-life complaint scenarios, including briefing CEOs and Boards on integrity issues, and giving time to consider how they can embed education in their sport.

“Throughout the course there’s a focus on understanding the importance of mental health support and the nexus between sport integrity and mental health, including the long-term impact of failing to create and maintain safe sporting environments for children.”

VU course

The most recent course held in Melbourne last week included experts sharing knowledge on matters that were at times confronting, while encouraging participants to actively participate in scenarios to fully understand the current threat environment.

Facilitated by VU’s Professor of International Sport Business Professor Hans Westerbeek and Sport Integrity Australia’s Assistant Director Steve Wyatt, the course included presentations from leaders in all major sport integrity topics as well as clinical and forensic psychologists, child safety specialists and the National Sports Tribunal.

The course has been attended by National Sporting Organisation integrity managers, state sporting organisation complaint managers, state Sport and Recreation departments and key sporting organisations like the Australian Olympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Australia.

“The three-day Sport Integrity Australia course was fantastic,” said Tahlia McGrath, Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Senior Project Officer Integrity. “It covered the key concerns facing the sport sector and provided really practical advice on how to manage issues in line with the NIF policies.”

Anna Longmore, the Integrity Manager of DanceSport Australia, agreed.

“The Managing Integrity in Sport, Professional short course is a must for any Integrity Manager,” she said. “Coming together to learn how to educate, facilitate and create a safe and all-inclusive environment for sport is a must, not just for today’s athletes but future athletes. Together we all achieve more!”

A full evaluation of the course is now being undertaken, to inform Sport Integrity Australia’s broader program of education support across the sector.

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