Athlete-and Coach-led education for teaching about abuse and neglect: Researching the process, experiences and outcomes

Project Details


Recently, many cases of athlete abuse have been reported, resulting in federal investigations and subsequent convictions (e.g., United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee; English Football; French Basketball). These have shown that athletes at different levels (e.g., children, adolescents, adults, elite), and across sporting contexts (e.g., gymnastics, swimming, athletics, football), have been subjected to multiple forms of abuse (e.g., emotional, sexual, and physical). Emotional abuse (psychological abuse) as well as neglect are the most common, with two recent studies reporting them as three times more likely to occur than sexual abuse. Physical abuse has also been reported as occurring more often than sexual abuse. With the normalization of some forms of athlete maltreatment occurring across sporting levels and contexts, the ‘safeguarding’ of athletes is an urgent priority that needs to move beyond a reactive or child protection approach and focus on prevention. The IOC consensus statement [harassment and abuse] identified evidence-based education as a primary way to prevent abuse in sport. This research proposal will investigate the implementation, outcomes, and transferability of an athlete and coach-led abuse education program (conducted online); teaching children through to adults about neglect, as well as emotional and physical abuse. Our study will use narrative analysis to highlight the effectiveness and transferability of abuse education that is ‘athlete and coach-led’. By providing abuse education for children through to adults (i.e., a ‘bottom up’ approach), we hope to prevent athlete maltreatment from being normalized. In turn, we will identify evidence-based abuse education that is best practice with regards to teaching athletes, coaches and sporting stakeholders.
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/21


  • abuse in sport, non-sexual abuse, education and pedagogy, child protection in sport

Research Centres

  • Centre for Child Protection & Safeguarding in Sport


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