Interpersonal violence in Belgian sport today: young athletes report

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Vertommen, Tine ORCID: 0000-0002-9304-3741, Decuyper, Mieke, Parent, Sylvie, Pankowiak, Aurélie ORCID: 0000-0003-0178-513X and Woessner, Mary ORCID: 0000-0001-7001-8407 (2022) Interpersonal violence in Belgian sport today: young athletes report. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (18). ISSN 1661-7827


Initiatives to safeguard athletes from interpersonal violence (IV) are rapidly growing. In Belgium, knowledge on the magnitude of IV in sport is based on one retrospective prevalence study from 2016 (n = 2.043 adults), involving those who had participated in organized sport for up to 18 years. Data on victimization rates in current youth sport populations are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the magnitude of IV in a sample of 769 athletes (aged between 13 and 21), using the Violence Towards Athletes Questionnaire (VTAQ). All types of IV were prevalent in this sample, ranging from 27% (sexual violence) to 79% (psychological violence and neglect). Boys reported significantly more physical violence, while girls reported significantly more sexual violence. IV perpetrated by peer athletes was reported to the same degree as IV perpetrated by a coach (70%), while IV perpetrated by a parent in the context of sport was somewhat less common, but still prevalent (48%). These findings, including factors associated with elevated exposure rates, can serve as a baseline measurement to monitor and evaluate current and future safeguarding interventions in Belgian sport.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3390/ijerph191811745
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords violence in sport, sport, Belgium, interpersonal violence, athletes, organised sport
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