Research Topic

Prevention of Abuse and Harassment in Athletics and Sports

About this Research Topic

Psychological, physical and sexual harassment and/or abuse have devastating effects on a person's self-worth, mental and physical wellbeing; undermining human dignity and deeply compromising everyone's right to enjoy sport. Indeed, abuse and harassment undermines sport's governing bodies' objective to promote sport as an educational, life-affirming and life-enhancing activity. Unfortunately, these behaviors represent only a portion of the many discriminatory actions that might take place in the athletics and sports context in everyday life.

Harassment and abuse can occur within an organizational culture that ignores, denies, fails to prevent or even tacitly accepts such practices. Risks of harassment and abuse are greater when there is a lack of protection or implementation of policies, codes of conduct, whistleblowing channels and response mechanisms. The risk is further increased by high perpetrator power, such as being in a leading position, and high athlete vulnerability, especially with young athletes or those coming from a socially disadvantaged background. Harassment and abuse occurs at all levels of sport, from elite to grassroot. Considering the connection between harassment/abuse and an increased risk of injury/illnesses, experiencing some form of maltreatment, especially at a younger age, has the potential to compromise the individual's risk assessment capacity and exert long-term consequences on mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore, prevention of abuse and harassment in athletics and sports should be a priority for all sports organizations.

The overall objective of this Research Topic is to raise awareness about the importance of preventing abuse and harassment in athletics and sport by highlighting the prevalence of harassment and abuse in athletics and sport and presenting the actions taken and strategies adopted by different sports organizations to prevent these behaviors. We aim to publish a wide collection of articles (all article types welcome) that will advance knowledge and encourage the practical implementation of preventive strategies.

We welcome papers that address any form or aspect of harassment, abuse or interpersonal violence in an athletics and sports context. Potential topics include:
• Policy development, prevention strategies/initiatives and implementation of policy (local, national, international)
• Epidemiological studies of abuse or related phenomena (local, national, international)
• The impact of abuse on individuals and organizations
• Clinical management of abuse victims (process, outcomes)
• Research related to individuals with designated safeguarding roles in athletics and sport
• Research with or by victims/survivors or survivor groups
• Research with perpetrators/abusive adults in athletics and sport
• Research with children in sport in relation to safeguarding/athlete welfare


Keywords: World Athletics, Abuse Prevention, Safeguarding Athletes, Harassment in Sport, Mental Health


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Psychological, physical and sexual harassment and/or abuse have devastating effects on a person's self-worth, mental and physical wellbeing; undermining human dignity and deeply compromising everyone's right to enjoy sport. Indeed, abuse and harassment undermines sport's governing bodies' objective to promote sport as an educational, life-affirming and life-enhancing activity. Unfortunately, these behaviors represent only a portion of the many discriminatory actions that might take place in the athletics and sports context in everyday life.

Harassment and abuse can occur within an organizational culture that ignores, denies, fails to prevent or even tacitly accepts such practices. Risks of harassment and abuse are greater when there is a lack of protection or implementation of policies, codes of conduct, whistleblowing channels and response mechanisms. The risk is further increased by high perpetrator power, such as being in a leading position, and high athlete vulnerability, especially with young athletes or those coming from a socially disadvantaged background. Harassment and abuse occurs at all levels of sport, from elite to grassroot. Considering the connection between harassment/abuse and an increased risk of injury/illnesses, experiencing some form of maltreatment, especially at a younger age, has the potential to compromise the individual's risk assessment capacity and exert long-term consequences on mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore, prevention of abuse and harassment in athletics and sports should be a priority for all sports organizations.

The overall objective of this Research Topic is to raise awareness about the importance of preventing abuse and harassment in athletics and sport by highlighting the prevalence of harassment and abuse in athletics and sport and presenting the actions taken and strategies adopted by different sports organizations to prevent these behaviors. We aim to publish a wide collection of articles (all article types welcome) that will advance knowledge and encourage the practical implementation of preventive strategies.

We welcome papers that address any form or aspect of harassment, abuse or interpersonal violence in an athletics and sports context. Potential topics include:
• Policy development, prevention strategies/initiatives and implementation of policy (local, national, international)
• Epidemiological studies of abuse or related phenomena (local, national, international)
• The impact of abuse on individuals and organizations
• Clinical management of abuse victims (process, outcomes)
• Research related to individuals with designated safeguarding roles in athletics and sport
• Research with or by victims/survivors or survivor groups
• Research with perpetrators/abusive adults in athletics and sport
• Research with children in sport in relation to safeguarding/athlete welfare


Keywords: World Athletics, Abuse Prevention, Safeguarding Athletes, Harassment in Sport, Mental Health


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

17 June 2020 Abstract
02 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

17 June 2020 Abstract
02 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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