Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes

For several years, the Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes prevention education initiative provided presentations to young athletes to promote their safe physical, emotional, educational, and educational development.

Now the program is being developed into a curriculum and piloted in the state of Arizona through 2024. The curriculum is being created in collaboration with experts including athletes, abuse survivors, coaches, mental health professionals, physicians, and others who work with youth in sports and movement arts.

“I just think that the culture of the sport needs to change. It’s been normalized for this long. That’s why a lot of athletes don’t recognize when something bad is happening, because when it’s happening to your teammates or your friends it’s hard to recognize that it isn’t normal. ”

-Aly Raisman, Olympic gymnast and Abuse Survivor

Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes aims to raise awareness about the widespread yet often overlooked issue of athlete abuse by promoting the physical and emotional safety of young athletes by equipping them with the tools needed to recognize, prevent, and seek help from athlete mistreatment.

The athlete curriculum builds on the evidence-based core Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe curriculum that teaches body safety, resistance strategies, connecting with safe adults, and more. This athlete curriculum may be taught on its own and is geared specifically to situations encountered by young athletes.

  • 80% of athletes indicate experiencing at least one incident of psychological harm or neglect while participating in youth sports
  • 22% of athletes indicate they were intentionally physically harmed during their participation in youth sports
  • 14-29% of athletes have been a victim of at least one form of sexual violence before age 18
  • Athlete sexual abuse with coaches as the perpetrator account for 0.2-9.7% of cases.
  • 47% of athletes entering college have already experienced some form of hazing abuse

Athlete abuse has been an issue at all levels of sport. It takes courage to come forward about abuse, and the Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes curriculum helps young athletes and their safe adults to find their voices, connect with resources, and pursue their sports safely.


For more information on Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes, please contact:

Catherine Beach, Relationships Manager
Childhelp National Headquarters
Phone: 480-922-8212
6730 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 150 | Scottsdale, AZ 85253


Cense, M., & Brackenridge, C.H. (2001). Temporal and developmental risk factors for sexual harassment and abuse in sport. European Physical Education Review, 7(1), 61-79.

Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C.H. and Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2003). Experiences of sexual harassment and abuse amongst Norwegian elite female athletes and non-athletes. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74(1): 74-97.

MacAuley, D. (1996). Child Abuse in Sport. The British Journal of Sports Medicine, 30:275-276.

MacGregor, M. (1998). Harassment and abuse in sport and recreation. CAHPERD Journal.

Parent, S. (2010). Disclosure of Sexual Abuse in Sport Organization: A Case Study. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. London: Routledge.