Sport, athletes, and violence against women

Allegations of sexual assault and harassment by rugby league and Australian Football League (AFL) players in 2004 and 2005 put the link between sport and violence against women firmly on the public agenda. There was widespread media coverage of the allegations and substantial community debate. In response to these allegations and the issues surrounding them, both rugby league and AFL codes initiated education programs among their players.

In recent months, there have been further controversies over sexual assaults, domestic violence, drug abuse, and other forms of anti-social behaviour by professional sportsmen. These have fuelled community perceptions that some sporting codes involve sexist subcultures in which ‘boys behaving badly’ is normal, if not celebrated. So, what do we actually know about the links between sport and violence against women? In this article, we review the evidence on athletes’ involvement in violence against women, their agreement with violence-supportive attitudes, and the risk factors for violence associated with sport in particular. This review is excerpted from a longer report written for the AFL by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. The longer report involves a literature review, an assessment of best practice in education, and recommendations for future violence prevention efforts. It is available at….

For the full article, in PDF, please click here.

Citation: Flood, Michael, and Sue Dyson. (2007). Sport, athletes, and violence against women. NTV Journal, Summer, pp. 37-46.

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