Effective engagement of survivors of harassment and abuse in sport in athlete safeguarding initiatives: a review and a conceptual framework Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Sport, as a microcosm of society, is not immune to the abuse of its stakeholders. Attention to abuse in sport has recently become a priority for sport organisations following several high-profile cases of athlete abuse from different sports around the world. Resulting from this increased awareness, many sport organisations have commenced work in the field of athlete safeguarding including the development of policy, educational programmes, reporting pathways, investigation mechanisms and research initiatives. One mechanism adopted by many sport organisations to support their safeguarding efforts is the engagement of survivors of abuse in sport: typically, as guest speakers at conferences or educational events. Unfortunately, many sport organisations do not have the knowledge or trauma-informed expertise to engage survivors safely and effectively; and in doing so, may unintentionally retraumatise the survivor if erroneous methods of engagement are employed. For some survivors, this experience may compound the original harms, and thus it also represents an area of vulnerability for the organising entity. The purpose of this paper is to explore the rationale for partnering with survivors of abuse in sport in safeguarding initiatives and to propose a living conceptual framework to support effective and safe survivor engagement in safeguarding initiatives. We will explore the underpinning scientific background, as well as the ‘why’, and ‘how’ of survivor engagement to inform sport organisations, research scientists, policy-makers, conference organisers, safeguarding officers, sport medicine clinicians and survivors themselves.


  • Mountjoy, Margo
  • Vertommen, Tine
  • Denhollander, Rachael
  • Kennedy, Sheldon
  • Majoor, Renald

publication date

  • February 2022