What would you do? Developing, implementing and evaluating a coach bystander intervention to prevent sexual violence in youth sports clubs
With current estimates of up to one in three children experiencing some form of sexual violence in sports, the need for effective measures to prevent sexual violence in sports is high. Survivors' narratives of sexual violence in sports uncover the lack of (adequate) bystander action and the urgent need for stakeholder education to effectively prevent sexual violence in youth sports. This study presents the "All Aboard" educational program, targeting youth sports coaches in Flanders (Belgium). The program aimed to stimulate the intentions of youth coaches to engage in positive bystander behavior to adequately detect, assess, and respond to signs of sexual violence toward young athletes. After two pilot studies, this program was implemented in nine Flemish sports clubs. Coaches' readiness to change, intentions and attitudes, perceived norms, and perceived behavioral control were measured before and after they participated in the program using the "And what would you do?" questionnaire, constructed according to the Reasoned Action Approach. After the program, positive change was found in coaches' intentions to be a positive bystander, e.g., they acknowledged the value of being a positive bystander, felt more comfortable being a positive bystander and believed that doing so would improve the situation. This article is one of the first to report on an evidence-based intervention program to prevent sexual violence in sports by fostering positive attitudes toward positive bystander behaviors by coaches. Opportunities and challenges of implementing education to prevent sexual violence in local sports clubs are discussed. Sexual violence is very common in youth sports and therefore education about this topic is crucial. The "All Aboard" program teaches youth coaches how to act as a positive bystander in the detection and response to situations of sexual violence. The program has successfully improved coaches' attitudes and willingness to intervene. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE center dot Coaches' intentions to be a positive bystander can be positively influenced by a bystander intervention. center dot To effectively safeguard youth sports participants, coaches and other club actors (e.g., sport psychology consultants, safeguarding officer) should receive education on positive bystander behaviors so that signs of (sexual) violence are recognized and followed-up with an appropriate response. center dot All stakeholders in a sports club have a responsibility to respond when it comes to incidents of sexual violence. In particular, sport psychology consultants and safeguarding officers are crucial in supporting those experiencing sexual violence, but also in guiding coaches, parents and sport club managers when faced with situations of sexual violence.
Source (journal)
Journal of applied sport psychology. - London
Abingdon : Taylor & francis ltd , 2024
(2024) , 22 p.
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
The author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted for publication version Available from 17.04.2025
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Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 02.05.2024
Last edited 16.05.2024
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