Prevalence of interpersonal violence against children in sport in six European countries

Mike Hartill, MELANIE LANG, DANIEL SAGE, Bettina Rulofs, Tine Vertommen, Marc Allroggen, Rosa Diketmuller, Ecaterina Stativa, Montserrat Martin Horcajo, Ioana Nanu, Jarl Kampen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Investigating prevalence of child abuse in sport is a relatively new field of research, born from the need for credible data on this phenomenon.

To establish prevalence rates of interpersonal violence against children in sport in six European countries.

Participants and setting
The sample (N = 10,302) consists of individuals aged 18–30 who had participated in organized sport prior to age 18 (49.3 % male, 50 % female).

A self-report questionnaire was developed (the Interpersonal Violence Against Children in Sport Questionnaire or IVACS-Q) to measure prevalence of five categories of interpersonal violence (neglect, psychological violence, physical violence, non-contact sexual violence, and contact sexual violence) against children who participate in sport. Validation testing (published separately) showed reasonable levels of convergent and divergent validity. Prevalence rates are calculated by national context, whether inside or outside sport, and by sex (male/female).

Prevalence of IVACS inside sport differed by category: psychological violence (65 %, n = 6679), physical violence (44 %, n = 4514), neglect (37 %, n = 3796), non-contact sexual violence (35 %, n = 3565), and contact sexual violence (20 %, n = 2060). Relatively small geographical differences were found. Across all categories, males (79 %, n = 4018) reported significantly more experiences inside sport than females (71 %, n = 3653) (χ2(1) = 92.507, p < .000). Strong correlations were found between experiencing violence inside and outside sport.

Interpersonal violence against children in sport is widespread. The sector's approach to prevention must recognize the risks to female and male children (and all children) and the additional vulnerabilities of abused children. Further comparative and longitudinal research within sport is required.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106513
Pages (from-to)106513
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • children
  • sport
  • abuse
  • interpersonal violence
  • prevalence
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Sport
  • Prevalence
  • Abuse
  • Children

Research Centres

  • Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of interpersonal violence against children in sport in six European countries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this