Media Release

Surf Life Saving Queensland to implement all seven key recommendations from Safe and Respectful Environments Independent Review

Monday, 13 December 2021

The organisation is committed to action that will deliver transformative change


Today, Surf Life Saving Queensland announced that they will implement all seven key recommendations from Suiko’s Safe and Respectful Environments Independent Review.

In June 2021, Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Board of Directors commissioned Suiko Consulting to conduct an independent review focused on members’ experiences within Surf Life Saving Queensland’s 57 surf clubs.

The review was commissioned to observe how bullying, harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination and child safety are regulated, prevented and if there is a complaint, how it is handled.

More than 1,000 stakeholders, including current and former members, shared their experiences of surf lifesaving clubs through a range of mediums including anonymous surveys, one-on-one interviews, regional forums, youth focus groups and written submissions.

The review identified that while for most, the iconic organisation has built a culture that creates a sense of belonging, community and pride in the surf lifesaving family, it has areas which must be improved, including:

• SLSQ currently has extensive materials on safeguarding children and dealing with inappropriate behaviours, however it identified that it would be beneficial for members if there was a cohesive single source of truth for members to access information easily.
• SLSQ should continue to work on diversity and inclusion as there is a perception that clubs have a male dominated culture.
• There needs to be a clear and easy pathway to report and handle complaints.
• There was no evidence of overt discrimination or sexual abuse, systemic or otherwise, identified during the review, however, some inappropriate behaviour was reported. As such, there is a need to build greater awareness and provide further education in this area.

Following this, seven recommendations were proposed to Surf Life Saving Queensland by Suiko and all accepted unreservedly by the Board of Directors.

In response to these recommendations, Surf Life Saving Queensland has developed the Roadmap to Safe and Respectful Environments, which will provide clear guidance to clubs on how to prevent and address inappropriate behaviour.

Moving forward, Surf Life Saving Queensland will provide their members with quarterly updates on their progress of Suiko’s recommendations.

Surf Life Saving Queensland CEO Dave Whimpey thanked all 1,000 participants for their time, thoughtfulness and honesty when participating in the review.

“We initiated this independent review earlier in the year as we wanted to provide our members with an opportunity to feel seen and heard,” he said.

“Our intention behind commissioning this independent review was also to enact positive change in our organisation.

“We thank the 1,000 current and former members, who shared their experience at SLSQ.

“This knowledge will help us learn from our past as we strive towards an equitable, safe future for our 34,000 volunteers.”

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