Complaints: The Case Categorisation System

  • Integrity Blog

At Sport Integrity Australia we receive a wide range of complaints each one requiring a unique and tailored response.

In the last 12 months, Sport Integrity Australia has received 238 complaints made up 197 alleged
child safeguarding issues and 41 claims of alleged discrimination.

Investigations confirmed 37 substantiated breaches of the child safeguarding policy
and a total of 52 complaints were managed by way of education.

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The Complaints Process has been established to keep sport safe and fair by managing allegations of Prohibited Conduct. 

While the Complaints Process may result in disciplinary outcomes for poor behaviour, it is not designed to be punitive and often strategies such as education can be a constructive, effective and more efficient way to address poor behaviour in sport, while also ensuring our effort is focused toward the most high-risk matters.

The Case Categorisation System establishes a transparent, objective, and consistent basis for evaluating allegations of Prohibited Conduct. It will be used to support decisions about the appropriate way to manage a Complaint and the issuance of sanctions for allegations found to be substantiated.

The key aim of this guidance is to ensure considered, consistent and proportionate decisions are being made throughout the Complaints Process. The presence of complicating factors may escalate a matter to a more severe Category.

Complicating factors include a perceived or real risk of harm, criminality, and other aggravating factors. The presence of mitigating factors may also be considered as part of making a proportionate decision.

Sport Integrity Australia has consulted with sports to update and
refine the Case Categorisation System document [PDF 2.6MB] (Appendix A of the Complaints, Disputes and Discipline Policy) which outlines the categories a complaint will fall under.

The Categories

Category 1 Blue - Low

Category 1 (Blue) Complaints and Reports involve allegations of Prohibited Conduct that are assessed as low risk. It has been identified that there is an absence of intent, and that the complaint is the result of a one-off incident. Blue matters can be appropriately addressed through education and a reminder of obligations.

Category 1 Complaints or Reports can include (but are not limited to):

Member Protection and Safeguarding Children and Young People

  • Low level swearing, derogatory or disrespectful comments.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Aggressive tone, disrespectful comments, or a heated altercation, in the absence of malice, vilification or bullying or other prohibited behaviour.
  • Lewd jokes (where adults involve a child or young person, a higher category may result).
  • Unnecessary and/or overly physical contact (not involving sexual misconduct) between athletes including pushing, roughhousing, or bumping into another.
  • Non-compliance with the following Child Safe Practices, but only where no obvious aggravating circumstances or behavioural patterns of concern are present:
    • Exhibiting favouritism towards a child or young person.
    • Photographing a child or young person without parent/guardian consent.
    • Transport of a child or young person without parent/guardian consent.
    • Providing gifts to a child or young person unless it is an official award.
    • Inappropriate use of tone or language.
    • Engaging in open discussions of a mature nature in the presence of children or young people.
    • Social media contact with a child or young person (without any aggravating factors e.g. repeated crossing of professional boundaries, use of profane or sexual language)
    • Accepting invitation to attend a private social function without an existing social, personal or family relationship.
    • Unapproved one on one supervision of a child or young person.
    • Failure to provide a positive training environment for a child or young person.

Category 2 Amber - Medium

Category 2 (Amber) Matters may involve the risk of moderate or reasonable harm, or repeated, more severe, or more complex Category 1 Complaints or Reports. Amber matters may have the potential to meet a criminal threshold and may require referral to law enforcement or child protection agencies.

Category 2 Complaints or Reports can include (but are not limited to):

Member Protection

  • Bullying.
  • Discrimination.
  • Repeatedly mocking an athlete’s appearance or body shape.
  • Abuse of position of trust or power.
  • Harassing behaviours, including unwanted sexual interest.
  • Inappropriate jokes, including insensitive jokes (race, religion and culture, disability, gender, sex).
  • Repeated or multiple incidents of harmful coaching techniques or training as punishment.
  • Physical threats or contact intended to cause hurt, such as shoving.


  • Betting by members on their own sport.
  • Inappropriate use of, or supply of supplements.
  • Interfering with, or intimidating parties to a Complaint, evidence, or Sport Integrity Australia processes.
  • Failing to report criminal charges, convictions, or any other Prohibited Conduct under the sport organisation’s policies.
  • Multiple breaches or offences and previous sanctions.
  • Further breaches whilst on probation or while Provisional Action is applied.

Category 3 Red – High

Category 3 (Red) matters often clearly involve allegations of criminal behaviour and/or present immediate risk of harm. These matters may involve a higher degree of complicating factors. Red matters must be referred to relevant law enforcement as to not impede any potential criminal investigations.

Category 3 Complaints or Reports can include (but are not limited to):

Egregious and Criminal Conduct

  • Sexual misconduct and abuse.
  • Touching of genitals, breasts, buttocks by an adult or person in a position of power (one off tapping of the buttocks as a sign of encouragement, or unintentional contact when spotting an athlete may be more proportionately categorised as a Category 2, depending on the circumstances).
  • Child abuse.
  • Exposing the child or young person to age-inappropriate and harmful material, or behaviours.
  • Criminal charges or convictions that may pose a risk to sport.
  • Failing to report child abuse.
  • Serious assaults including striking or punching.
  • Supplying alcohol or drugs to a child or young person.
  • Use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs.

Improper Use of Drugs and Medicine

  • Supplying medicines or over the counter medicines except where permitted by law and with the consent of a parent.

Match Fixing and Corruption

  • Match, race or competition fixing.
  • Supplying inside information for the purposes of gambling.

Each of the categories include the related measures or sanctions which may accompany a confirmed breach. The Case Categorisation System document stipulates Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances to further aid in the complaints process.

Related information