Child Protection in Sport

Child Protection in Sport
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission
Last updated  Last updated: 24 October 2017
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Child Protection in Sport
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Child protection in sport is concerned with keeping all young people (that is, all persons under the age of legal responsibility) safe from abuse, discrimination, and harassment. It also involves protecting children from people who are unsuitable to work with children, and practices that may be potentially harmful to children. Sporting organisations have legal and moral obligations to protect all children who participate and/or attend their organised or sanctioned activities.

Child abuse is often considered a generic term, which encompasses a range of different forms of misconduct by adults toward children, with differing consequences. Due to the breadth of this terminology there may be legal confusion when specific examples are given, such as neglect, harassment, hazing or bullying.

Similarly, the term child protection will have many meanings that range from a broad community based approach to very narrow definitions associated with procedures. In the context of sport, the definitional boundaries are often blurred.

Key Messages 


All children are entitled to participate in a sporting setting that is safe.


All forms of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour in a sporting setting—particularly in the presence of children—are intolerable and in direct conflict with the ideals of sport.


Sporting organisations and their adult members who administer and deliver programs have a duty of care to ensure that children are protected from physical and/or psychological harm while participating in sport.

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