Child Maltreatment and Sports Activities

  • Angelo P. GiardinoEmail author


Sport is …a social or cultural institution…and, thus, falls under the terms of institutional child abuse and protection … it is similar to other social institutions, such as religion (with its churches or mosques, for example) or education (with schools and colleges)… just as organised religion and education have had to implement child protection, sport has also had to come to terms with abuse and abusers in its ranks and with ways of preventing and responding to such problems. (Brackenridge and Rhind, Soc Sci 3:326–340, 2014)

As the quote above indicates, there is a risk for child maltreatment and victimization to occur in sports and athletic activities. Increasingly, professionals and the public are recognizing the very real risk for child maltreatment and other forms of victimization such as peer abuse (i.e., bullying) to occur in a range of youth-serving agencies which include sports teams, churches, and schools (LaBotz et al, Athletic environments can create opportunities for abuse. AAP News. February 23., 2018; Shattuck et al, JAMA Pediatr 170:e154493, 2016). As testament to this increased awareness, especially as it relates to sexual victimization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2007 issued an authoritative guide titled “Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-Serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures” (Saul and Audage, Preventing child sexual abuse within youth-serving organizations: getting started on policies and procedures. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, 2007). The release of this CDC report provided guidance to professionals working on how best to implement systematic practices directed at preventing one type of maltreatment: sexual abuse. However, many of the policies and procedures are applicable to other forms of maltreatment and victimization as well:

Youth-serving organizations strive to create a safe environment for youth, employees, and volunteers so that youth can grow, learn, and have fun. Part of creating a safe environment is making sure that youth are not harmed in any way while participating in organization-sponsored activities. (p. 1)


Sports Activities Athletes Misconduct 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Utah and Intermountain Primary Children’s HospitalSalt Lake CityUSA

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