Article: Child abuse, child protection, and defensive "touch" in PE teaching and sports coaching

The full article is only available after purchase.


This text introduces recently completed research on ‘no touch’ sports coaching, by placing it in a broader social context which problematises the way child abuse and child protection (or safeguarding) are conceived and discussed in terms of policy and practice. It also provides a brief indicative summary of the research findings and offers a discussion of moral panic, risk society and worst case thinking, before drawing on Foucault's work on governmentality to offer an explanation of how the current situation arose. The authors suggest that the approach to discussing child abuse, and the guidelines and training stemming from the dominant discourse, for the most part initiated by the NSPCC's Child Protection in Sport Unit, together create an environment in which many coaches and PE teachers are confused and fearful, and consequently unsure of how to be around the children and young people they teach and coach.