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Integrity in sport: Sexual abuse - research and prevention Prof. Em. Celia Brackenridge OBE Leuven March 12 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrity in sport: Sexual abuse - research and prevention Prof. Em. Celia Brackenridge OBE Leuven March 12 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrity in sport: Sexual abuse - research and prevention Prof. Em. Celia Brackenridge OBE Leuven March 12 2014

2 Outline Ethics – the core of sport Terms and definitions – Sexual abuse Emergence of the issue Risks Research guidelines Progress with prevention Leuven March 12 2014

3 Health warning Seek help if you need it Support others Challenge others

4 Ice breaker In 3s: Have you ever seen a child cry in a sport context? What happened? How did it make you feel? Leuven March 12 2014

5 Ethics – the core of sport Assumption … sport as pure and safe?

6 Terms and definitions Types of abuse Example in sport? Leuven March 12 2014 Physical... Psychological... Sexual... Neglect... Bullying... Hazing...

7 Terms and definitions – psychological abuse Humiliation or bullying based on gender, body shape, performance etc. Exertion of undue pressure on young athletes to achieve high performance Requiring sex as a prerequisite for team selection or privileges Physically injurious or sexually degrading initiation (hazing) rituals Nutrition and weight loss regimes leading to eating disorders such as anorexia or other health problems Leuven March 12 2014

8 Terms and definitions – physical abuse Beatings and other physical chastisement as a spur to performance Injury through forced risk-taking in extreme environments Use of performance-enhancing drugs Peer pressure to use alcohol or addictive substances Requiring young athletes to play when injured Use of physical exercise as a punishment (forced physical exertion) Leuven March 12 2014

9 Terms and definitions – SHA Harassment, abuse, exploitation, maltreatment, violence, victimisation... SH = unwanted sexual attention SA = groomed or coerced involvement in sexual acts Leuven March 12 2014 Some areas of contestation: Touching or not? Action or impact? Age boundaries? Legal boundaries? Frequency? Power relations? Links between them and umbrella terms?

10 Leuven March 12 2014 The sexual exploitation continuum (Brackenridge 2001) SEX DISCRIMINATION GENDER AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT SEXUAL ABUSE I N S T I T U T I O N A L..................................... P E R S O N A L "the chilly climate e.g. worse pay, facilities or coaching for one sex "unwanted attention e.g. sexual ridicule, jokes, stalking, bullying, homo/ transphobic taunts "groomed or coerced e.g. sexual violence, assault, rape, sexual favors, groping, incest, sex-based hazing........ Bystanding behaviour........

11 Sexual abuse – an ethical contradiction Why is this so? … Leuven March 12 2014

12 Sport as a cultural and political island Institutional blindness... until last 10-15 years 1980s many cases but few publicised; very few studies 1990s beginnings of scientific studies and policy development Some links to CSA scandals outside sport 2000s growth of science, activism and prevention policy Comparatively little research Leuven March 12 2014 Emergence of the issue a new and sensitive subject... long been hidden under the table 2000 Bratislava Conference of Ministers of Sport

13 Leuven March 12 2014 Emergence of the issue cont. Adult athleteChild athlete ChildAdult

14 Leuven March 12 2014 Components of sexual abuse risk Athlete vulnerability Abuser inclination Sport opportunity

15 Leuven March 12 2014 Exercise: in 3s, place the 12 sports on a risk ladder – most to least at risk of sexual abuse. Give reasons. Tennis Ice hockeySwimming Athletics Rowing Badminton Basketball Diving Volleyball Handball Judo Baseball Risk assessment

16 Leuven March 12 2014 Excellence Performance SPORTAGESPORTAGE Foundation Participation STAGE OF IMMINENT ACHIEVEMENT PUBERTY ? SEXUAL MATURITY Sexual abuse risks and age (Brackenridge & Kirby, 1997) C H R O N O L O G I C A L A G E

17 Summary of knowledge Child and adult athlete abuse not always clearly separated No sport is exempt Prevalence goes up with performance level Both boys and girls are victims Most perpetrators are male Always based on distorted power relations Much more research is needed Leuven March 12 2014

18 Summary of knowledge cont. VICTIM PERPETRATOR CoachAthlete Coach (Not studied)Harassment, usually by males on females. Athlete Focus of research: mainly, but not always, male coaches but both female and male victims. Increased risk at elite level. Major concerns emerging about bullying, hazing and homophobic discrimination.

19 Research guidelines Power and politics enter every research study … how? Are we scientists or social workers? What top 3 rules would you advise for researching this topic? Leuven March 12 2014

20 Approaches to prevention Penal (Criminal/bad) Medical (Scientific/mad) Utilitarian (Competitive/sad) Social welfare (Child-centred/glad) (Reforming) (Radical) Change the (abusive) individual Change nothing Change the (abusive) system

21 Progress with prevention Leuven March 12 2014 Emphasis on personal measures... leads to police checks, codes of practice, coach education Emphasis on organisational measures and ethical climate... leads to improved governance, transparency, accountability

22 Progress with prevention Leuven March 12 2014 The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit Standards and Framework:

23 Consensus Statement (2007) On-line educational programmes(2010) [for NOCs, IFs, coaches, athletes] [for youth and with back up research] Leuven March 12 2014

24 UNICEF (2010) Protecting Children from Violence in Sport: A review with a focus on industrialized countries. http://www.unicef- http://www.unicef- Leuven March 12 2014

25 Progress with prevention Still... - concerns about SHA overshadow other abuses - vast differences in understanding across sport agencies - no baselines against which to measure progress - education is the most cost-effective form of prevention - knowledge and prevention are not in balance - lack of standardised approaches Prevention not correlated with economic health Change through external human rights pressures rather than from within sport i.e. sport follows society Leuven March 12 2014

26 Thankyou! Leuven March 12 2014

27 Selected references and websites Alexander, K. Stafford, A. and Lewis, R. (2011) The experiences of children participating in organised sport. London: NSPCC. AVERT, Worldwide Ages of Consent, Brackenridge, C.H. (2001) Spoilsports: Understanding and preventing sexual exploitation in Sport. London: Routledge. [See especially Ch. 8] Brackenridge, C.H. Fasting, K., Kirby, S. and Leahy, T. (2010) Protecting Children from Violence in Sport: A review with a focus on industrialized countries. Florence: United Nations Innocenti Research Centre Review. Free download at http://www.unicef- Brackenridge C.H., Kay, T. and Rhind, D. (eds.) (2012) Sport, Childrens Rights and Violence Prevention: A sourcebook on global issues and local programmes. Brunel University London e-book. Free download at Brackenridge, C.H. and Pitchford, A. (2009) RESPECT: Football parent module. Brackenridge, C.H., Pitchford, A., Nutt, G. and Russell, K. (2007) Child Welfare in Football: An exploration of childrens welfare in the modern game. London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

28 Leuven March 12 2014 Brackenridge C.H. and Rhind, D. (eds.) (2010) Elite Child Athlete Welfare: International perspectives. London: Brunel University Press. ISBN: 978-1-902316-83-3. Free download at Child Protection in Sport Unit, Sports Safeguarding Framework : Maintaining and embedding safeguarding for children in and through sport. framework/framework-for-safeguarding-children-in-sport_wda89203.html framework/framework-for-safeguarding-children-in-sport_wda89203.html CPSU/UNICEF (2012) Symposium report from Beyond Sport Summit, London 25 th Jly procedures-beyond-paper Hartill, M. (2009) The sexual abuse of boys in organized male sports, Men and Masculinities, 12, (2): 225-249 IOC (2007) Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse. IOC (2010) Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport – online prevention materials. IOC (2010) Sexual Harassment & Abuse in Sport" Youth Olympic Games on-line educational programme.

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