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Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(4), 742-757;

A Critical Examination of Child Protection Initiatives in Sport Contexts

Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, 55 Harbord Street, Toronto, M5S 2W6, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Developments in Child Protection)
Full-Text   |   PDF [87 KB, uploaded 14 October 2014]


With the broadening of focus on child maltreatment beyond intra-familial settings, there is growing awareness of occurrences of maltreatment within the sport context. Millions of children participate in organized sport annually, and despite a tendency to view sport as a context by which to enhance the overall health and development of children, it is also a context in which children are vulnerable to experiences of maltreatment. The well-documented power ascribed to coaches, the unregulated nature of sport and a “win-at-all-costs” approach contribute to a setting that many propose is conducive to maltreatment. A number of high profile cases of sexual abuse of athletes across several countries in the 1990s prompted sport organizations to respond with the development of child protection measures. This study examined seven child protection in sport initiatives in terms of the extent to which they originated from research, had content that was consistent with scholarly work and were evaluated empirically. The findings indicated that these initiatives were not empirically derived nor evaluated. Recommendations are made to more closely align research with these initiatives in order to protect children and to promote a safe and growth-enhancing experience for young participants in sport. View Full-Text
Keywords: child protection; sport; empirical foundations child protection; sport; empirical foundations
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Kerr, G.; Stirling, A.; MacPherson, E. A Critical Examination of Child Protection Initiatives in Sport Contexts. Soc. Sci. 2014, 3, 742-757.

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