There are many health risks associated with playing sport, whether young or old. Most people involved in sport, whether participating or organising, are aware of some of the risks such as risk of injury, risk of pressure and stress and most of these are openly recognised by all involved. There are however, several health risks which are less openly recognised and that some people even try to divert attention from the problems instead of facing up to them and putting procedures in place to try and prevent them. Child abuse in sport is one of these problems (Waddington, 2000). More than eight million children in the UK take part in sport each week, from grass roots initiatives to national team or individual competitions. Whilst most take part in complete safety, a small minority of these children are at risk of some kind of abuse by adults who have gained access to working with children through sport (CPSU Website, 2003).
Child Abuse in society in general.
When discussing child abuse in general, it is important to recognise that attitudes differ from one society to another and that, even in Britain, "child abuse as we conceive of it, is a modern phenomenon (Cooper, 1993: 2). Therefore, we must also recognise that attitudes have changed from one historical period to another. The way children are treated and the rights that they have these days are a far cry from the way children were treated in the 18th and 19th century for example.
An early study by Kempe and Kempe (1962) on child battering led to a spate of research to be done with the same focus - child abuse. There had previously been little research done on child abuse and it was one of the taboo subjects that were raised by many feminists during the 1970s (Brackenridge, Dobash & Dobash, 1979). .
"Britain and Ireland have been through a decade in which shattering revelations about the abuse of children in care' streamed from every TV set.