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Concerns raised about 'culture of silence' over inappropriate behaviour

BHA director of legal and governance Catherine Beloff: "You can see a number of reasons why people might not [come forward]"
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The BHA's director of legal and governance told the racing industry roadshow at York there were concerns about a "culture of silence" over inappropriate behaviour in the sport.

Catherine Beloff said there was a lot of good work being done in racing to allow people across all backgrounds to flourish.

However, she added: "Nick [Rust] referred to the gender diversity study that was published by Women In Racing and Oxford Brookes University last year, and that referred to young people in yards being subjected to inappropriate behaviour, including racism, sexism and homophobia. That is obviously a real concern to us.

"We also had Gay Kelleway come forward last year to say she had been sexually harassed when she was a young jockey, and since then 12 other women have come forward to her and said they went through similar experiences.

"As far as we know none of those women has come forward either to the BHA or Racing Welfare, which in itself provides another concern that there is a culture of silence – people don't want to come forward, people fear what it means for themselves and for their job prospects and that is something else we really have to work at. So I think there's a lot to be done."

Gay Kelleway: has said she was sexually assaulted as a young jockey

Beloff said the nature of the sport might explain why that was the case in racing, although there would be similarities with other sports.

"It's an extremely competitive sport," she said. "A very small number of people make it to the top, they want to keep in the good graces of the people who are employing them and they are under a lot of pressure.

"You can see a number of reasons why people might not [come forward] and they are similar to why people don't come forward in many other sports – sometimes for decades or even ever."

Rust said the Diversity in Racing Steering Group formed last year would shortly be releasing some of its early findings.

He added: "Not only is it right to ensure diversity and equality in moral terms, it's also vital for the commercial future that we attract new audiences and we don't alienate them because of the look and feel of our sport."


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People don't want to come forward, people fear what it means for themselves and for their job prospects

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