- overall enabling factors for abuse to take place in sports were similar to those found in our other thematic reports into abuse in other contexts and institutions
- physical contact was a more specific enabling factor found in participants’ accounts related to sexual abuse in sports, as it is more common in sporting activities and was sometimes used as a pretext by perpetrators to sexually abuse children
- for most participants, taking part in sport was not a defining or central factor of their lives as children or the lives of their families, but rather it was part of wider activities and hobbies they enjoyed
- sexual abuse by those involved in sports contexts was often perpetrated during overnight stays, trips away and visiting the perpetrator’s home
- perpetrators also sometimes used sports-related rewards, such as allowing the child to play in a more senior team, as a method of grooming or coercion
- although some participants experienced psychological and emotional abuse linked to grooming and manipulation alongside the sexual abuse, none of them described experiencing physical violence or other forms of abuse by perpetrators in sports contexts
- most participants did not actively or formally disclose their sexual abuse in a sports context as a child. A key theme discussed by participants was how much they wanted, or tried, to tell someone about what was happening to them but how difficult this was
- the impacts of experiencing child sexual abuse in sports described by participants are extensive and diverse and similar to those described by victims and survivors of abuse in other contexts. A difference was that despite their experiences of abuse in sporting contexts, participants did not report subsequently desisting from sport and exercising, as a child or later in their lives
The report concludes with some suggestions for change from the victims and survivors. Including, continuing to raise awareness of sexual abuse in a sports context, better support and protection for those coming forward and improving the communication that organistions have with survivors of abuse.
You can download the full report from the IICSA website.
- Protecting children from grooming and sexual abuse - CPSU resource
- Understanding sexual offending and the grooming and entrapement process - CPSU webinar