- The British Horseracing Authority has ramped up its safeguarding procedures
- Since 2018, the BHA have received and investigated more than 350 incidents
- High proportion related to sexual misconduct, bullying and abusive conduct
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has ramped up its safeguarding procedures in an urgent move to protect the wellbeing of everyone involved in the industry.
Since 2018, the BHA have received and investigated more than 350 incidents of safeguarding and human welfare concerns, the bulk of which were based around sexual misconduct.
The most worrying aspect of that figure is that close to 120 of those incidents happened this year alone.
Julie Harrington, the BHA’s Chief Executive, said that, for horseracing to flourish, it “depends on the health and happiness of the people within the sport” and the governing body are determined to make the environment healthy and welcoming for all.
The shocking evidence that the BHA have found ties in with a study, conducted by Durham University’s Dr Eleanor Boden between 2015 and 2020 as part of her PhD; she studied study into gender inequalities and the experiences of aspirational young women in the racing industry.
Dr Boden’s report was made public on Wednesday – The BHA have had it since 2021 – and the findings are remarkable with young women disclose they feel the need to leave the industry for feeling like they don’t belong and some under the impression that pregnancy will hinder their career prospects.
Harrington said: ‘Racing is not immune to problems like bullying and sexual misconduct, and I know that for women in particular, it has often been easier to keep your head down and suffer in silence.
‘I am truly sorry to hear the stories of bullying, sexual misconduct and, in some cases, serious sexual abuse. This has no place in British racing – or wider society.’
Anyone who needs help, support or has witnessed or experience any unacceptable behaviour, should report it, with confidence, to email@example.com, or call the BHA’s confidential reporting service, RaceWISE on 08000 852 580.