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Introduction

The Truth Project is a core part of the Inquiry alongside public hearings and research. It was set up to hear and learn from the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in England and Wales. It offers victims and survivors an opportunity to share experiences of child sexual abuse. By doing so, Truth Project participants make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry. With the consent of participants, the Inquiry uses Truth Project information in a variety of ways, including for ongoing research and data analysis carried out by the Inquiry’s Research Team.

This is the fourth research publication in a series of thematic reports examining the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse shared with the Truth Project. We have previously published research reports on child sexual abuse in religious institutions, children’s homes and residential care, and custodial institutions. This report details the research findings in relation to experiences of abuse in sports contexts. This study also contributes to the existing body of knowledge relating to child sexual abuse in sports, in particular by sharing the experiences of victims and survivors of abuse in sport across a broad time period and in relation to recreational sporting activities.

We have used the term ‘sports contexts’ in this report to describe environments and situations where children and young people take part in organised sports activities (including alongside adult participants), for example in sports clubs, sports institutions or sports associations or where they participate in sporting activity in a sporting or leisure location (for example, a public swimming pool) and the perpetrator works or volunteers there (for example, a leisure centre worker or swimming pool lifeguard).

This report presents the Inquiry’s research findings about experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in sports and the response of institutions to such abuse. It describes the experiences of Truth Project participants sexually abused in sports contexts between the 1950s and 2010s, with the most recent cases in our sample beginning in the early 2010s. The research findings included in this report do not reflect all experiences of sexual abuse in sports contexts and are only indicative of the specific experiences of those who chose to share their experiences with the Truth Project.

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