Telling adults about it: children’s experience of disclosing interpersonal violence in community sport

Woessner, Mary ORCID: 0000-0001-7001-8407, Pankowiak, Aurélie ORCID: 0000-0003-0178-513X, Kavanagh, Emma ORCID: 0000-0001-9984-1501, Parent, Sylvie, Vertommen, Tine ORCID: 0000-0002-9304-3741, Eime, Rochelle ORCID: 0000-0002-8614-2813, Spaaij, Ramon ORCID: 0000-0002-1260-3111, Harvey, John ORCID: 0000-0001-6927-6580 and Parker, Alexandra ORCID: 0000-0002-2398-6306 (2023) Telling adults about it: children’s experience of disclosing interpersonal violence in community sport. Sport in Society. ISSN 1743-0437


A challenge in safeguarding children from interpersonal violence (IV) in sport is the reliance on self-disclosures and a limited understanding of the frequency, barriers to and process of disclosures of IV. Through a mixed-methods design, combining survey and interviews, we explored the frequencies of childhood disclosures of experiences of IV in Australian community sport as well as who children disclosed to and how the interaction unfolded. Those who experienced peer violence disclosed at the highest frequency (35%), followed by coach (27%) or parent (13%) perpetrated IV. A parent/carer was most often the adult that the child disclosed to. Interviews highlighted how the normalisation of violence influenced all aspects of the disclosure and elements of stress buffering (normalising or rationalising) particularly underpinned the disclosure interaction. Policies and practices should explicitly identify all forms of IV in sport as prohibited conduct; education and intervention initiatives should target parents as first responders to disclosures.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/17430437.2023.2268555
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3504 Commercial services
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords disclosure, interpersonal violence, self disclosure, Australia, sport community
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