The present state of abuse or corporal punishment involving children and sports authority figures and the necessity for a child protection system in sports in Japan

Mori, K., Rhind, D., Gervis, M., Callan, M., Nakamoto, H., Elmes, D., Hamada, K., Sakanaka, M., Nakamura, I. and Yamada, R. (2015) The present state of abuse or corporal punishment involving children and sports authority figures and the necessity for a child protection system in sports in Japan. The Annals of Fitness and Sports Science, 50 (3). pp. 17-24.

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In sports instruction, physical contact between sports authority figures and athletes is unavoidable. Therefore,
sport engenders situations where abuse and violence tend to occur. Moreover, sports authority figures tend to place
greater priority on victory than on players’ human rights. Abuse and corporal punishment inflicted by sports authority
figures on children in sport have been designated as human rights issues in Article 2 of the Sports Fundamental Act
(2011) in Japan.
International responses to this problem include the following. First, the IOC issued a statement regarding elite
child athletes (2005), and a statement on sexual harassment and abuse in sports (2007). Second, UNICEF published a
report on child protection in sport in 2010. Third, Paul David, of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights, has proposed a “ (child-centered) sport system” (2005).
For this study, a questionnaire about their experience of corporal punishment or abuse in school athletic clubs’
activities, or physical education classes prior to entering university, was given to undergraduate students in their third
and fourth year at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya (NIFS), Japan. The results were as follows.
First, one in five respondents had experienced corporal punishment or abuse. Second, corporal punishment had
occurred in both individual events and in group sports. Third, the athletes who had experienced corporal punishment
or abuse were at slightly lower levels in international competition for top athletes. Fourth, about half (46%) of
respondents agree with the affirmation theory of violence in sport instruction. Fifth, 62% of respondents who had
experienced corporal punishments indicated that they believed corporal punishment to be necessary to some extent in
sport. Finally, 62% of respondents think that child protection is necessary.
Consequently, it is evident that there is a need to consider how to safeguard children from abuse or violence by
authority figures in sports in Japan. The UK system for child protection in sports is very informative for considering
this in Japan. The UK system has the following characteristics:
(1)Comprehensiveness of the system; (2)Division of abuse into five types; (3)Modelling of good practice by the sports coaches; (4)System checks by the DBS; (5)CP guidelines of each sports organization in the UK contain unique
content and characteristics; (6)Instructional guidelines for sports authority figures; (7) Link to a certification system
for coaching; and (8) Protection of sports authority figures themselves.
These characteristics have created an effective system in the UK. A child protection system similar to the
UK system, should be introduced for sport in Japan. It would be useful for Japan to monitor recent international
movements to standardize the safeguarding of children in sport.

Publication Type: Articles
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Sport > Area > Sport Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mike Callan
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2016 10:21
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2018 13:12

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