Initiatives to safeguard athletes from interpersonal violence (IV) are rapidly growing. In Belgium, the knowledge on the magnitude of IV in sport is based on one retrospective prevalence study from 2016 (n=2.043 adults), who participated in organized sport before 18 years. Data on victimization rates in current youth sport populations are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the magnitude of IV in a sample of 769 athletes (13-21 years old), using the Violence Towards Athletes Questionnaire (VTAQ). All types of IV are prevalent in this sample, ranging from 27% (sexual violence) to 79% (psychological violence and neglect). Boys reported significantly more physical violence, while girls reported significantly more sexual violence. IV perpetrated by peer athletes was reported to the same degree as IV perpetrated by a coach (70%), while IV perpetrated by a parent in the context of sport was somewhat less common, but still prevalent (48%). These findings, including factors associated with elevated exposure rates, can serve as a baseline measurement to monitor and evaluate current and future safeguarding interventions in Belgian sport.
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