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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Struggle for Child Protection in Canadian Sport

Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 2W6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(5), 68;
Received: 4 April 2020 / Revised: 24 April 2020 / Accepted: 27 April 2020 / Published: 2 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Debates and Developments in Child Protection)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: sport; child; athlete; protection; Canadian; safe sport sport; child; athlete; protection; Canadian; safe sport
MDPI and ACS Style

Kerr, G.; Kidd, B.; Donnelly, P. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Struggle for Child Protection in Canadian Sport. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 68.

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