Research Program 

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Through the Safe Sport Research Grant Program, we are partnering with leading academics to increase our understanding of:

  • the root causes of maltreatment in sport;
  • the positive behaviours that lead to fun and welcoming sport experiences; and
  • the impact of Abuse-Free Sport’s independent programs and services.

The program has funded a total of 10 research projects in 2021-22, each conducting a knowledge synthesis on one of ten themes identified by an expert working group:

1) Best practice for athletes to feel safe in reporting maltreatment;

  • Gretchen Kerr, Ph.D., University of Toronto

2) Best practices for complaint handling systems;

  • Eric MacIntosh, Ph.D., University of Ottawa

3) Best practices to ensure survivors-centric complaint process/trauma-informed process in non-sport sectors;

  • Delphine Collin-Vézina, Ph.D., McGill University

4) Comparative analysis of other safe sport initiatives worldwide;

  • Sandra Kirby, Ph.D. (Professor Emerita), University of Winnipeg

5) Experience of high-performance athletes with the complaint process;

  • Jennifer Walinga, Ph.D., Royal Roads University

6) Experience with the complaint process for marginalized groups;

  • Janice Forsyth, Ph.D., University of British Colombia

7) Positions of survivor groups on maltreatment complaint processes;

  • Sandra Kirby, Ph.D. (Professor Emerita), University of Winnipeg

8) Prevalence of maltreatment in community-level sports;

  • Katie Misener, Ph.D., University of Waterloo
  • Haley Baxter, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Waterloo

9) Review of non-sport-organizations’ management of complaints;

  • Daphne Gilbert, Ph.D., University of Ottawa

10) Review of programs supporting survivors in sport and other fields.

  • Margo Mountjoy, MD, Ph.D., McMaster University
  • Erin Willson, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto

In the fall 2022, Abuse-Free Sport will hold a Safe Sport Research Symposium to share the results of this research and establish priorities for the safe sport research grant program in the coming years.

Following the Symposium, a call for applications will be issued for the next round of research funding.