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Dr Melanie Lang

Reader in Social Sciences

History, Geography & Social Sciences

Dr Melanie Lang

Department: History, Geography & Social Sciences

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Melanie is Director of the Centre for Safeguarding and Child Protection in Sport (CPSS) and Reader in Child Protection in Sport at Edge Hill University. Her research and teaching focus on children’s rights in sport, safeguarding and child protection and abuse prevention in sport, athlete welfare, and gender-based violence in sport.

Melanie regularly carries out consultancy for national sports organisations and safeguarding and child protection charities and sports bodies, and was UK lead on the Erasmus+-funded project ‘Child Abuse in Sport: European Statistics’ (CASES) (2019-2021), the International Olympic Committee Advanced Research Grant Programme-funded project ‘Athlete- and coach-led education for  teaching about abuse and neglect’ (2020-2021), and the EACEA-funded project ‘Gender-Based Violence in Sport’ (2016-2017).

She is a member of the Pool of European Experts on Safe Sport (EU) and the Research Chair in Security and Integrity in Sport (Laval University, Quebec, Canada) and serves as an ambassador for the UK child protection charity Freedom from Abuse.

Melanie works with national and international sports and coaching organisations, third-sector organisations and sport and safeguarding groups to deliver training CPD, research and evaluation. As well as publishing scientific articles, she is editor of three books: ‘The Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare’ (Routledge, 2021), ‘Safeguarding, Child Protection and Abuse in Sport: International Perspectives in Research, Policy and Practice’ (Routledge, 2015), and ‘Bullying and the Abuse of Power’ (Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010).

Melanie regularly appears in the national and international media as an expert speaker on safeguarding, child protection, and violence prevention issues in sport. She has delivered CPD training on children’s rights and safeguarding and child protection in sport to policymakers, coaches, athletes and charitable organisations from the UK, China, Japan and Ghana and as part of the International Olympic Committee’s Safeguarding in Sport Officer trainig programme.

Melanie’s internals roles within Edge Hill University include acting as a supervisor and examiner of MRes and PhD candidates, chairing Posgraduate Research student vivas, serving as the Social Sciences department International Co-ordinator for study abroad schemes, and sitting on the institutional Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee. She was a Fellow of the Institute for Social Responsibility in 2021/22.

Research Interests

Children’s rights in sport

Safeguarding, child protection and abuse in sport

Welfare and wellbeing of adult and child athletes

Gender-based violence in sport

Sexual harassment in sport

Youth sport policy implementation and evaluation

Narrative methodology and pedagogy

Ethnographic research

Research ethics

Conducting sensitive research


Melanie introduced some of the first teaching modules in the UK on child protection and children’s rights in sport in her current and previous institutions. She teaches modules on a range of sociology and sociology of sport themes and is a supervisor to MRes and PhD students working in the areas of children’s rights, safeguarding and child protection in sport and physical activity.