Shocking: nearly 3 out of 4 young Belgian athletes experience inappropriate behavior

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Nearly 75 per cent of young athletes experience some sort of unacceptable behavior in sports before they have reached the age of eighteen, that’s the result from research by UAntwerpen, which is part of the ongoing European research “Child Abuse in Sport: European Statistics”, news outlet shared. In 51.3 percent of the cases it’s about physical inappropriate behavior and in 67.6 per cent of the cases psychological harassment is mentioned.

Top-level sports hasn’t been in the greatest light these last few weeks, with two incidents at the Triathlon Australia and scandals at the Dutch National Triathlon Federation. This research is not triathlon-specific, but targeted at all Belgian sports.

In the report, it’s stated that about 36.3 percent of Belgian athletes mentions to be neglected. Additionally, 36.1 percent of the athletes comment to have dealt with non-physical sexual harassment at some point in their sports career. In 22.8 percent of the cases, this was physical and in a shocking 8 percent of the cases, this was sexual assault or rape.

“All the numbers show that there is inappropriate behavior within sports, but also outside of sports, it’s still a big problem in Flanders, Belgium and Europe”, Dr. Tine Vertommen stated. “In each of the countries that participated, high numbers were reported. This means that we, like a society, and more specifically the sports scene, fail at protecting our kids and youth.”