People in a position of authority


Physical abuse

Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force which creates or strongly risks creating real harm to the health of a child or a teenager, his or her survival, development and dignity. It can also involve the use of inappropriate training methods which can cause or aggravate an injury. This type of violence is often more visible! [1; 5; 12; 41 E]
Examples of physical abuse in a sports environment 
    • To shake, push or hit a young person
    • To force an athlete to train even though he or she has injuries that the coach knows about
    • To pinch an athlete
    • To kick an athlete with one’s feet
    • To compel an athlete to do additional training which leads to exhaustion or sickness
    • To ask an athlete to execute movements or technical manoeuvres that are too difficult for his or her capacities and which could have negative impacts on his or her health

 Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is an intentional and repeated behaviour, without physical contact, that has the potential to inflict emotional or psychological damages on a young person. Such behaviour without contact includes acts of verbal, non-verbal and physical violence. [1; 5; 15; 16; 18; 28; 39; 40]
Examples of emotional abuse in a sports environment
    • To yell insults (e.g. swear words), say mean things or make humiliating comments to an athlete
    • To hit or throw things (e.g. to throw a hockey stick, hit a garbage can, etc.)
    • To threaten to physically hurt an athlete or pretend to throw something at him or her
    • To expel or exclude an athlete from training
    • To reject or ignore voluntarily an athlete (always ignore his or her presence)

 Sexual abuse  

“A sexual assault is when a sexually connoted gesture, with or without physical contact, is perpetrated by an individual without the consent of the person targeted by this gesture and, in certain cases like those of children, through emotional manipulation or blackmail. It is an act aiming at using another person to fulfil one’s own desires while abusing one’s authority, or using strength or constraint, or explicit or implicit threats. A sexual assault violates a person’s fundamental rights, which include that person’s physical and psychological integrity along with his or her security. 

This definition applies no matter the age, gender, culture, religion or sexual orientation of the victim or the assailant, no matter the type of sexually connoted gesture and the location or the environment in which it was perpetrated, and no matter the existing relationship between the victim and the sexual assailant. [O]

Sexual assault perpetrated on a child under 18 years of age constitutes sexual abuse, and it is a type of ill-treatment described in the Youth Protection Act (YPA Article 38). It is described as when a child is subjected to gestures of a sexual nature by the child’s parents or another person, with or without physical contact, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation; or when the child runs a serious risk of being subjected to gestures of a sexual nature by the child’s parents or another person, with or without physical contact, and the child’s parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation. [E] A person in a position of authority (a coach, a teacher) cannot commit acts of a sexual nature toward a minor(Consent to sexual activities—Éducaloi)

Sexual harassment is also identified in Brackenridge’s Sexual Exploitation Continuum in Sport (2001) where it is defined as unwanted attention which can take the shape of verbal or written threats, sexual jokes, sexually connoted comments or innuendos, sexual or homophobic graffiti, sexually intimidating comments, proposals, invitations or informalities. New methods of communication (social media, texts, etc.) are also used to harass. [13]

Examples of sexual abuse with physical contact Examples of sexual abuse without physical contact
    • To encourage an athlete to touch someone sexually or to be touched sexually
    • To suggest an exchange of favours or privileges against sexual activities
    • To kiss an athlete on the mouth or any other part of his or her body
    • To have sexual relations with the athlete (oral, vaginal or anal)
    • To force an athlete to have sexual relations (rape)
    • To exhibit one’s genital area in front of an athlete
    • To ask an athlete to undress or get naked
    • To make an athlete watch sexually explicit images or movies
    • To make sexually connoted calls, or to send sexually connoted texts, sexts or emails
    • To use the Internet to communicate online with underage children and teenagers and to attract them outside of their homes for sexual, pornographic or criminal purposes