Scottish Rugby launches inbox for reporting discrimination

‘Tell Us’ campaign set up after concerns raised by players.

Scottish Rugby launches ‘Tell Us’  campaign and inbox for reporting discrimination SNS Group

The Scottish Rugby Union has launched a new method for those involved in the game to raise concerns about or report incidents of sexism, misogyny, homophobia or racism.

The governing body says the ‘Tell Us’ campaign has been set up in recognition of recent concerns raised by players in the community game relating to discrimination.

The new service is a daily-monitored email inbox with submissions “delegated to experienced representatives of Scottish Rugby’s rugby development dept, disciplinary and safeguarding teams, depending on the level of support and action required”.

The launch comes weeks after Edinburgh-based Liberton Rugby Club disbanded their women’s team and some individuals were accused of misogynistic, racist and homophobic comments and behaviour towards female players, who are now working to set up a team with Leith.

The SRU then itself faced repeated allegations of failing to treat Scotland player Siobhan Cattigan the same way it would have treated a male international. Cattigan died 14 months ago and her family have instigated legal action against the governing body over its care in treating two head injuries and subsequent mental health issues.

The governing body announced at its annual general meeting in August that it was setting up a fact-finding process into her death, which is ongoing.

The SRU has also been urged to pay tribute to Cattigan at a Guinness Six Nations game and chief executive Mark Dodson was criticised for postponing two meetings on the matter with MSP Sue Webber, who says she is due to meet him this week.

When asked whether there would be a lack of trust in the organisation from any potential complainants, director of rugby development Gavin Scott said: “We are fully committed to our women and girls’ strategy, we are investing lots in terms of both people and money, and everything we do is about increasing women and girls’ rugby.

“Every hurdle that stops us growing the game we need to look at and thoroughly support the change there. There is an absolute commitment that we take these things seriously.”

Scott stated that the SRU was awaiting formal complaints before any potential action could be taken over the Liberton claims, although he stressed the governing body had earlier been involved in trying to resolve problems at the club.

He added that the preferred method was to “encourage” clubs to facilitate women and girls playing rugby, with the help of more than £100,000 in funding to clubs.

Pointing out that clubs offering playing opportunities for girls had risen from eight to 90 in the last few years, he added: “We know there are issues in clubs with capacities of pitches and changing rooms and all sorts of things when you have growth rates as quick as this and we know they need to be addressed.

“The men and boy’s games have developed over 100 and odd years and has taken that time to develop. In our women and girls’ space we know we have to act quicker and adapt.”

Before the new inbox goes live on Tuesday, complaints have had to go through clubs or to regional directors of the SRU.

Gemma Fay, the SRU’s head of women and girls’ strategy, said: “In an ideal world everybody raises issues and it is dealt with at club level.

“What has been highlighted to us is that some people haven’t felt comfortable or didn’t know that route or weren’t aware of other routes that were available to them as part of a club in the Scottish Rugby family.

“We listened to that and found another way to allow us to gather that information listen.

“We know we have some issues out there and concerns we need to address so we want to be able to address them with the appropriate information.”

SRU vice-president Keith Wallace, who chairs the newly formed Club Rugby Board which oversees the community game, admitted he could not say that sexism and misogyny did not exist in the game.

“We don’t think it’s a huge issue but we don’t really know, so this will help us on that front,” he added.

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