University Of Tasmania

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Trauma-informed abuse education in sport: engaging athlete abuse survivors as educators and facilitating a community of care

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 09:26 authored by Jennifer McMahonJennifer McMahon, McGannon, KR, Christopher Zehntner, Werbicki, L, Elspeth StephensonElspeth Stephenson, Karen MartinKaren Martin
The need to focus on abuse prevention in sport has been prioritized due to widespread athlete maltreatment occurring across many sports, levels and regions. One recommendation to prevent athlete maltreatment is through evidence-based education. Despite this recommendation, surprisingly little has been done in this area. A recently proposed idea is that athlete abuse survivors could collaborate with sport organizations in maltreatment prevention initiatives (e.g. speaking invitations, sharing their stories, education initiatives). However, researchers have warned that when collaborations between survivors and sport organizations occur, and trauma-informed practices are not implemented in a way that engages everyone safely, re-traumatisation may result. The present study is one of the first to explore how abuse survivors can be placed at the forefront of education initiatives that are underpinned by international trauma-informed principles. Two abuse survivors from swimming and rowing facilitated education programs that taught about abuse with other athletes in their sports. Evidence-based trauma informed practices were embedded throughout the educative process to prevent unintended further harms, in turn creating a 'community of care'. Embedding trauma-informed practices were imperative given the lived experiences of the survivors, and the possibility the education recipients (i.e. athletes) could also be victims of maltreatment. The 'what', 'why' and 'how' of trauma-informed practices are outlined to show the application, and value of this process to not only maltreatment prevention initiatives, but to other levels of sport (e.g. when abuse is reported, selection policy, coach pedagogy)


International Olympic Committee


Publication title

Sport Education and Society






Faculty of Education


Carfax Publishing

Place of publication

Rankine Rd, Basingstoke, England, Hants, Rg24 8Pr

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Teaching and curriculum not elsewhere classified