A Platform for Action

There has been a recent and rapid growth in awareness among sport federations, scientists and athlete advocates of the damaging personal and organisational impacts of violence and abuse to athletes

There is increasing recognition that violence threatens not only the ethical and social basis of sport but also the physical, emotional and mental health of the athlete. Rights violations of concern include: sexual, physical and emotional abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, hazing (initiation rituals) and many others that are in direct contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

In recognition of this, a number of agencies, from both human rights and sport, have already developed harm prevention strategies and programmes in sport. These initiatives include practical measures – such as education and training, codes of practice and support for whistle-blowers – and are based on a strong platform of values and principles.

  • Research evidence about the types, prevalence and incidence of violence and abuse in sport has grown considerably over the past 20 years. Whilst much more data is needed, especially in relation to global cross-cultural comparisons, there is now a sufficient evidence base to underpin Safe Sport International.
  • Policy responses to this evidence base include:
    • the IOC Sexual Harassment and Abuse Initiative (2007 Consensus Statement; online training; Youth Olympic Games education work);
    • IOC Consensus on athlete protection from harassment and abuse (non-acccidental violence) 2016
    • Vertommen et al – Dutch and Belgian study in in 2015
    • EU ‘Study on Gender-based violence in Sport’ in 2017
    • the review of violence against children in sport by UNICEF and subsequent initiatives to rid sport of violence and abuse (2010);
    • the development and trial of a set of International Safeguards for children launched 2015. Implementation guides launched 2016 for Child Safeguarding in Sport, being tested by around 50+ organisations around the world from international to national to local levels (2013-2016);
    • the introduction of various respect-based programmes and other safe sport initiatives addressing both adult and child athlete safety in many countries.
  • A growing demand for policies and procedures to secure sport as a place of safety for all. These demands come from parents, athletes themselves, law makers, policy makers and a wide range of sport organisations, from local to international levels, provoked by widespread media coverage of sexual and other violent and abusive behaviours in sport.
  • That the sports movement should set up a mechanism to monitor and quality assure compliance by all NOCs and international federations with the Safe Sport International Principles
  • That all organisations organising sporting events should ensure that they establish criteria that require compliance with the Principles as a prerequisite for bidding to host major sport events.
  • That recognising, for these initiatives to be successful, the support of all stakeholders in sport is required and that sports organisations should link safe sport to good governance within their networks as something to be adopted as policy by all and widely publicised.
  • That there should be greater collaboration and cooperation between all sport organisations, institutions and agencies which support the human rights and welfare of all athletes.
  • That the promotion of safe sport in competitions and training, management and administration should, and must, serve the wider goal of supporting the existing international agendas of human rights and children’s rights.
  • That sport should work with the UN and its agencies, especially UNICEF, and share in their work in order to foster safe sport culture and practices. Where they do not already exist, partnerships should be established at local levels between national sports organisations, UN country teams and civil society.
  • That a platform for networking should be established, thereby creating a place for exchanging and sharing ideas and good practices in the area of safe sport.

Thank You

We are grateful to the Oak Foundation for support and resources and to the President of the International Olympic Committee for its work so far on the prevention of abuse and harassment in sport.

Our thanks also to the Brunel International Research Network for Athlete Welfare and the Brunel Centre for Sport Health and Wellbeing.

Thank You

Safe Sport International is proud to work with and have the support of these amazinging organisations and individuals.  Thank you for your support.

Read More