3 June 2024

Keeping Taekwondo safe and fair for everyone

Safe, fair, and inclusive sport is for everybody. As a national sporting organisation (NSO), Australian Taekwondo’s responsibility is to advocate for and inspire actions that uphold ethics, safety and fairness. 

To protect the integrity of Taekwondo in Australia and ensure a safe, fair and healthy environment for everyone, Australian Taekwondo follows Sport Integrity Australia's National Integrity Framework – the standard of behaviour accepted within our sport and martial art – which applies to club owners and instructors, athletes, members, coaches, referees, volunteers, parents/guardians, and employees. Alongside these standards are Australian Taekwondo policies that also apply to our community. 

There is nobody better placed to discuss integrity in sport and the need to keep Taekwondo safe and fair for everyone than Australian Taekwondo’s National Integrity Manager, Bronwen Knox.

A four-time Olympian who won two bronze medals for water polo at the Beijing and London Olympics, Knox is also the Deputy Chef de Mission for the Australian Team for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where she will assist the team’s Chef de Mission – Australian cycling great, Anna Meares.

In this interview, Knox outlines how and why Australian Taekwondo is proactively following the National Integrity Framework and Sport Integrity Australia’s new campaign, “Play the Aussie Way”?

As a NSO, how does Australian Taekwondo meet its responsibility to advocate for and inspire actions that uphold ethics, safety, and fairness?

Australian Taekwondo fulfils its responsibility by implementing comprehensive policies, this is planned to be accompanied by educational programs that emphasise ethical conduct, safety, and fairness. These initiatives include regular training for athletes, coaches, and officials on topics like anti-doping, child protection, and respectful behaviour. The organisation also collaborates with Sport Integrity Australia to ensure its standards and practices are aligned with national and international guidelines, fostering a culture of integrity across all levels of the sport.

Why is Australian Taekwondo implementing stronger policies and frameworks around integrity matters?

Australian Taekwondo is enhancing its policies and frameworks to better protect athletes, maintain public trust, and ensure the sport remains fair and safe for everyone involved. Stronger integrity measures are crucial in addressing contemporary challenges such as doping, harassment, discrimination, and match-fixing. By adopting more robust policies, Australian Taekwondo aims to create a transparent and accountable environment that upholds the highest standards of ethical behaviour.

What is the National Integrity Framework and how does it apply to Australian Taekwondo members? 

The National Integrity Framework is a comprehensive policy suite developed by Sport Integrity Australia to safeguard the integrity of sports across the nation. It includes guidelines and protocols on child safeguarding, competition manipulation, member protection, and drugs and medicine. For Australian Taekwondo members, the framework provides clear expectations and procedures for reporting and addressing integrity issues, ensuring everyone involved in the sport understands their rights and responsibilities. It helps to maintain a safe, fair, and respectful environment for all participants.

Why is it important to improve behaviour and change cultures in Taekwondo? 

Improving behaviour and changing cultures in Taekwondo is essential to ensure the sport is inclusive, respectful, and fair. Promoting better behaviour starts with education and awareness programs that highlight the importance of ethics and respect in sports. By fostering a culture that values integrity, we can create a positive environment that not only enhances performance but also protects the wellbeing of all participants. It’s about setting a standard that future generations can aspire to and uphold.

What should people do if they become aware of unethical or unsafe behaviour? 

If individuals witness or hear about any unethical or unsafe behaviour, they should report it through the appropriate channels. Australian Taekwondo has a clear and confidential process for making complaints, which can be accessed through our website or by contacting the National Integrity Manager. It’s important for the integrity of the sport that all concerns are reported promptly and investigated thoroughly.

You can also raise any concerns directly to Sports Integrity Australia via their Safe Sport Hotline on 1800 161 361 (7:00am - 7:00pm (AEDT), 7 days a week, 365 days a year) or via their online reporting form – Report now.

How does Australian Taekwondo’s focus on integrity align with Sport Integrity Australia’s Play the Aussie Way campaign?

Australian Taekwondo’s focus on integrity aligns seamlessly with Sport Integrity Australia’s “Play the Aussie Way” campaign, which emphasises the importance of fair play, respect, and sportsmanship. This collaboration underscores a shared commitment to maintaining the highest standards of behaviour in sport. By supporting this campaign, Australian Taekwondo reinforces its dedication to creating a positive and ethical sporting environment, which is crucial for the development of athletes and the broader community’s trust in the sport.

About Bronwen Knox – National Integrity Manager, Australian Taekwondo

Bronwen Knox has a professional background in law, specialising in administrative and sports law, and over 21 years of experience in high-performance sporting pathways as an athlete. As the National Integrity Manager, her role involves developing and implementing policies that promote ethical conduct, safety, and fairness within Australian Taekwondo. This includes ensuring compliance with the National Integrity Framework and providing education and support to members.

In her role as Deputy Chef de Mission for the Australian Team at the 2024 Paris Olympics, Knox is committed to ensuring that all Australian athletes and staff have everything they need to perform at their best. Her goal is to create a supportive environment that prioritises wellbeing and performance, thereby enhancing our athletes' experience and success at the Games.

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