First-of-its-kind Study on Child Abuse and Neglect Within Elite Athletics Announced by CHILD USA

In Partnership with The Foundation for Global Sports Development, CHILD USA will examine the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in elite athletic organizations to determine how to best prevent it.

PHILADELPHIA, PACHILD USA, the nation’s leading think tank dedicated to child abuse and neglect, today announced a $50,000 grant from The Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) to fund a study to determine the incidence of child abuse and neglect within elite athletics. Given recent revelations regarding sexual abuse in USA Gymnastics and USA Swimming, CHILD USA will study the extent to which young elite athletes are vulnerable to abuse, including when and how it happens. The ultimate goal of the study is to determine the best policies and potential legal reforms necessary to protect athletes from sexual abuse in the future.

Marci Hamilton, CHILD USA CEO and Academic Director, will work with University of Pennsylvania Professor Richard J. Gelles to create the survey instrument, test it, and distribute it to a wide array of athletes starting September 2018. The survey will be launched with Dr. Steven Ungerleider, Executive Board Member of GSD, at the first national symposium on Athletes and Abuse on April 25 at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We cannot adequately protect children from sex abuse without directly studying those potentially at risk,” said Hamilton. “The emerging information about sex abuse across Olympic sports sends an undeniable signal that we must focus on protecting these vulnerable young athletes and preventing future abuse. With the Me Too movement mobilizing the nation, it’s time to understand the full extent of child abuse at the highest level of athletics, and ensure we take steps to hold predators accountable.”

“Protecting those who are most vulnerable is at the very core of what we do,” said GSD Executive Board Member David Ulich.

“For many years, GSD has worked to end the abuse of children and young athletes,” added Dr. Ungerleider, GSD Executive Board Member and renowned scholar committed to ending sexual abuse within the Olympic and sports communities“This study is deeply needed, and we are honored to support it.”

The study is scheduled to be completed by 2019.


CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims. For more information, visit

About The Foundation For Global Sports Development

Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development promotes sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world’s youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth. Visit to learn more.