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Sample and methods

Of the 3,939 people who shared an experience between June 2016 and March 2020, 64 (2 percent) described child sexual abuse that took place in a sports context. Fifty-eight (91 percent) of these 64 participants reported being sexually abused by a sporting coach or volunteer in a sports organisation. All perpetrators spoken about by this group were adult males. Sports clubs were most frequently reported as the location of the abuse (39 out of 64; 61 percent).

The report details findings in relation to child sexual abuse which occurred in a wide variety of different sports including team sports, individual competitive sports, contact and non-contact sports and those ranging from formally organised clubs to private coaching arrangements, as well as abuse which occurred within public sports and leisure facilities.

Given the small number of people sexually abused in sports who have so far participated in the Truth Project, we have adopted a qualitative approach in the analysis undertaken for this report. We have analysed 9 of the 64 Truth Project accounts relating to child sexual abuse in sports contexts in detail. The accounts selected include a range of characteristics and circumstances, such as the time period in which the abuse occurred, victim age and victim sex.[1] The wider analysis of Truth Project accounts is ongoing and we will publish a full report with a bigger sample size covering all contexts of abuse at the end of the Inquiry.

Ethical approval was obtained from the Inquiry’s Research Ethics Committee prior to the collection and analysis of the data and information is only included where Truth Project participants have agreed to their accounts being used for research purposes.



  1. A detailed explanation of the process used for carrying out analysis of Truth Project information can be found in the separate report, Truth Project Research: Methods (King and Brähler, 2019).
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