The abuse of children in sport has received considerable attention in recent years not least in the UK, where high-profile disclosures of abuse by former sports professionals has led to several independent inquiries and reviews. Subsequent public and media interest has focused on the potential scale of child abuse in sport. This scrutiny has highlighted how little data there are in this area, in a sector that thrives on statistics. This paper analyses official reports of child abuse in sport and leisure settings received by local authorities (LAs) in England during a five-year period (2010-15) across a range of factors. Findings show that English LAs have varying capacity to provide data on sport/leisure contexts; receive substantively different volumes of reports of child abuse in sport/leisure; and record reports of sexual abuse in sport at higher levels than other forms of abuse. These data suggest that abuse in English sport is significantly underreported but that reports per annum increased over the period.
- child abuse
- Local Authority