Prevalence study into abuse in sport

Last updated: 28 Jul 2020 Topics: Safeguarding children Working with our partners

A study, by Edge Hill University, aims to establish the prevalence of abuse and maltreatment experienced by competitive athletes, in their childhood and beyond, in the UK. 

This project is being undertaken by Edge Hill University's Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport (CPSS), and is supported by Sport England. The study is the first large-scale survey in the UK to ask competitive athletes about their negative experiences in sport. The data collected will be relevant for everyone working within the sports sector.

The study will look at a representative sample from across competitive and performance sport, and data will be collected via online questionnaire. The collection of this data relies on the cooperation of national governing bodies and a willingness to facilitate access to their network of athletes.

In recent years, studies have been conducted in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Canada investigating the prevalence and characteristics of child maltreatment in sport. Now is the time for the UK to renew and advance our understanding of the problem of child maltreatment and interpersonal violence in sport. 

This is important because:

  • robust data is crucial for development of effective and precise strategy and policy
  • data in this area is at least as important as all other data collected in sport, yet we have very little of it
  • there is a need to establish a reliable means of collecting data in this area at regular intervals over time to monitor trends
  • the UK is seen as an international leader in this field
  • there is no excuse not to have this data in 2020

If you are interested in supporting this research or hearing more about the process, please contact Dr Mike Hartill, Director of the Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport (CPSS), at or 01695 584763.

Further information

Related information