While practicing sport, many of them were victims of psychological or physical abuse. Published this Saturday, the figures revealed by a European study covering more than 10,000 people in six countries, are worrying. Almost two-thirds of the people questioned declared that they had endured psychological violence, while 44% had suffered physical violence.
Several cases of violence against minors in sports have recently been publicized. And for good reason, the ground seems favorable.
Conducted in collaboration with the University of Wuppertal in Germany, this study funded by the European Union was carried out on individuals between the ages of 18 and 30, who were athletes when they were minors.
A worrying finding
The highest incidence of abuse is among children playing competitive sport at the international level.
Lack of appreciation on the part of the coach, or even outright humiliation, abuse takes place within clubs and sports organizations. According to the study, the prevalence of violence against underage athletes is highest in Belgium (80%). On the other hand, it is in Austria that it is lowest (70%).
However, whether it is Germany, Romania, Spain, Great Britain or even Belgium, boys are more likely to be exposed to abuse.
A limited protection policy
For professor of sociology of sport Mike Hartill, lead author of the report, the results show that the various European sports leaders have done “too little” to protect children.
Indeed, many sports organizations are struggling to extend their protection policies beyond guarantees against sexual violence.
“The problem is ultimately rooted in the nature of the relationship between adults and children in sport,” says Mike Hartill. It will take “much more than producing a policy” to curb the problem.