The Silent Topic of Sexual Child Abuse in Sports in the Academic Literature: How Network Governance, Public Branding, and Design-Oriented Public Administration Provide Avenues for Future Research

Vidar Stevens


In recent years, the topic of sexual child abuse in sports has become a topical issue on the political agenda of many Western countries. Remarkably, where governments have undertaken new policy steps to get a hold on the issue of sexual child abuse in sports, the issue has been a silent topic in the academic literature. Up until 2010, several scholarly articles have been devoted to the topic. Since then, the amount of publications has risen to over one hundred articles, with publication peaks in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The articles come from different academic disciplines ranging from psychology and criminology to sport sciences, sociology and sport ethics. Given the urgency and relevance of the topic and the immaturity of the research field, we believe it is time to summarize the current literature and propose future directions in such a way that new scientific insights can be of added value to governments’ efforts to decrease the amount of child victims of sexual abuse in sport contexts. 

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