The topic of safe sport, and safe sport for children in particular has gained significant attention in recent years. Millions of children across the EU participate in different sport activities on a regular basis. There is widespread evidence on the positive benefits of regular sport participation for children such as improved physical and mental wellbeing, personal and educational development and social inclusion. Recent cases of violence against children in the media have drawn attention however to the seriousness of the safeguarding risks factors for children and young people who take part in sport on a regular basis. Empirical studies across the EU have confirmed that sport provides an environment in which a significant proportion of children are vulnerable to various forms of violence and bullying. The increased coverage has highlighted the importance of ensuring that organisations offering sport to young people implement adequate safeguarding procedures to reduce the risks of children being harmed.
The key aims of this small-scale research study were to undertake a rapid review of empirical evidence on violence against children in sport across the EU and to analyse how safeguarding issues are dealt with at national and/or international level through legal instruments and policy initiatives.