Interpersonal violence against children in sport in the Netherlands and Belgium

Tine Vertommen*, Nicolette Schipper-van Veldhoven, Kristien Wouters, J.K. Kampen, Celia H. Brackenridge, Daniel J.A. Rhind, Karel Neels, Filip Van Den Eede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


The current article reports on the first large-scale prevalence study on interpersonal violence against children in sport in the Netherlands and Belgium. Using a dedicated online questionnaire, over 4,000 adults prescreened on having participated in organized sport before the age of 18 were surveyed with respect to their experiences with childhood psychological, physical, and sexual violence while playing sports. Being the first of its kind in the Netherlands and Belgium, our study has a sufficiently large sample taken from the general population, with a balanced gender ratio and wide variety in socio-demographic characteristics. The survey showed that 38% of all respondents reported experiences with psychological violence, 11% with physical violence, and 14% with sexual violence. Ethnic minority, lesbian/gay/bisexual (LGB) and disabled athletes, and those competing at the international level report significantly more experiences of interpersonal violence in sport. The results are consistent with rates obtained outside sport, underscoring the need for more research on interventions and systematic follow-ups, to minimize these negative experiences in youth sport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-236
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Child abuse
  • Harassment
  • Maltreatment
  • Organized sport
  • Prevalence
  • Unwanted behavior


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