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Title: Playing safe: Assessing the risk of sexual abuse to elite child athletes
Authors: Brackenridge, CH
Kirby, S
Keywords: Sport Age;Sexual Abuse;Children;Elite
Issue Date: 1997
Publisher: Sage
Abstract: Young athletes frequently suffer from being seen as athletes first and children second. This has consequences for their legal, civil and human rights as children (Kelly et al., 1995) and for the way in which sport organisations choose to intervene on their behalf to protect them from physical, psychological and sexual abuses (Brackenridge, 1994). Sport careers peak at different ages depending on the sport: in some, children as young as 12 or 13 may reach the highest levels of competitive performance; in others, full maturity as an athlete may come late into adulthood or even middle age. Recognition of this variation has given rise to the concept of ‘sport age’ (Kirby, 1986) referring to sport-specific athlete development. This concept is of significance in helping to identify the developmental process in terms of athletic, rather than chronological, maturity. The risk of sexual abuse in sport, formerly ignored or denied, has now been documented in a number of studies, using both quantitative and qualitative methods (Kirby & Greaves, 1996; Brackenridge, 1997; Volkwein, 1996). Drawing on data from these studies and from the previous work on sport age and athletic maturation, this paper proposes a possible means of identifying and assessing relative risk of sexual abuse to elite young athletes in selected sports. The concept of a ‘stage of imminent achievement’ (SIA) is proposed as the period of peak vulnerability of young athletes to sexual abuse.
Appears in Collections:Sport
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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