Sexual Abuse in Sport: The Problem No One Wants To Talk About

On July 12, UNICEF's Innocenti Research Center in Florence, Italy released an important report on violence against children in sport in industrialized countries, including the United States.

The report found a troubling lack of awareness of and education on child protection issues among youth sports coaches, parents, and other stakeholders. To combat the problem it recommends improvements in data collection and knowledge generation about violence to children in sport, development of structures and systems for eliminating and preventing such violence (including promotion of ethical guidelines and codes of conduct), and education, awareness-raising and training.

Myths About Sexual Abuse In Sports

In a 2010 speech, a world-reknowned expert lists fourteen of the most common myths about sexual abuse in sports, and issues a call to action.


Hazing: Sample Policy Statement from NFHS

The purpose of the hazing policy issued by the National Federation of State High School Associations is to maintain a safe learning environment that is free from hazing for students and staff members, Hazing activities of any type are inconsistent with the educational goals of a school district and are prohibited at all times.

Hazing Common Among High School Athletes

Almost half of 11th and 12th grade athletes report having been subjected to hazing, according to a 2000 study.

Hazing Hurts Team Performance

Building school spirit through rituals is a time-honored tradition at most American schools, from middle school through college. A hazing ritual is often defended as a way for people to earn their place in an organization and to build school and organizational spirit. The distorted logic of hazing apologists is that the worse a person joining the organization is treated, the better leader and performer he or she will be. Team building rituals should be focused on team development and not on individual embarrassment and injury. It is this area which is most likely to be abused or misunderstood. Whether the initiation ritual revolves around doing silly things like dressing up in weird clothes during school or singing amusing songs at a school assembly, the activity should not be one that creates such anger and humiliation that the young student vow to get revenge. When this type of initiation is done well it creates fun and helps all people on the team know that the new player is willing to trust the older ones to do activities which enhance the performance of the team.

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