Child abuse can be when someone does something harmful, or does not provide for or protect, a child or young person. 

The World Health Organisation (1999) defines child abuse as:

“Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child's health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”

Child abuse can cause significant and 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 rapport between adults and children, where the adults are in positions of trust and able to assert authority and power over children.

What are the different types of child abuse?