Millions of children and adolescents around the world participate in organized sport for holistic health and developmental benefits. However, for some, sport participation is characterized by experiences of maltreatment, including forms of abuse and neglect. In Canada, efforts to address and prevent maltreatment in sport have been characterized by recurring cycles of crisis, public attention, policy response, sluggish implementation, and active resistance, with very little observable change. These cycles continue to this day. Achieving progress in child protection in Canadian sport has been hindered by the self-regulating nature of sport, funding models that prioritize performance outcomes, structures that deter athletes from reporting experiences of maltreatment, and inadequate attention to athletes’ recommendations and preventative initiatives. The culture of control that characterizes organized sport underpins these challenges to advancing child protection in sport. We propose that the establishment of a national independent body to provide safeguards against maltreatment in Canadian sport and to address this culture of control.
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