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Child abuse can be when someone does something harmful, or does not provide for or protect, a child or young person.  Child abuse can cause long-lasting emotional, physical and behavioural damage.

Sport is a particularly vulnerable area for potential child abuse because it:

  • involves a large number of people under the age of 18
  • can involve overnight and away trips (e.g. training camps or competitions)
  • usually involves close relationships between adults and children, where the adults are in positions of trust and able to assert authority and power over children.
Children and young people with special needs are particularly vulnerable to abuse. This may be because of difficulties in communicating, behavioural issues or physical limitations. They often require different staff-to-participant ratios and greater levels of assistance.

This section provides information on: