by K. Fasting, C. Brackenridge & G. Kjølberg

Vol. 4 2013, pages 49–67
Published May 7, 2013


Sport scientists face difficulties in gaining access to data on sexual abuse in sport through conventional research sources and also in verifying media reports of such cases. One potential alternative source of data is court reports. The study reported here used a small number of court reports to examine issues confronting those researching sexual abuse in sport. Two questions were investigated: What do the court reports tell us about the perpetrators and their abuse strategies? How useful is content analysis of court reports for acquiring more knowledge about sexual abuse cases in sport? Data were drawn from electronic searches of the Norwegian Lovdata (Lawdata) website. 15 sport-based cases were revealed by the searches and then subjected to content analysis, both within- and cross-case. The findings confirm previous studies in relation to the perpetrator strategies and the absence of any perpetrator stereotype. The article concludes that court reports provide one valuable, yet still incomplete, source of information against which to test our understanding of sexual abuse in sport and develop abuse prevention measure.

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About the Authors

KARI FASTING is professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Studies, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. She became the first elected chair of this institution and served as the rector from 1989 to 1993. She is past president of the International Sociology of Sport Association and of Women’s Sport International. She has published widely on different aspects related to women, exercise and sport. Though her focus of research over the last years has been on sexual harassment and abuse in sport, she is now working on a project concerning Gender and the Top-Level coaching role.

CELIA BRACKENRIDGE is a Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for Sport Health and Welfare at Brunel University in West London. She has been an honorary visiting professor in Germany (the Deutsche Sporthochschule, Cologne), the USA (Smith College, Massachussetts) and the UK (the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies at Huddersfield University). Her main research interests are gender equity, abuse prevention and athlete welfare.

GUSTAV KJØLBERG holds a master degree in sociology of sport from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. He is a former semi-professional football player, but works today as a teacher in a secondary school, teaching physical education and health.


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