Professor Mike Hartill


Mike Hartill is Reader in the Sociology of Sport and Director of the Centre for Child Protection & Safeguarding in Sport (CPSS). Mike has conducted research into child abuse in sport since joining Edge Hill in 2000. He has been particularly influential in highlighting the sexual abuse of boys within sports contexts as well as conducting some of the earliest research into child protection and safeguarding policy within sport. Mike also introduced several undergraduate modules on safeguarding and child protection in sport, from 2002 onwards, the first of their kind globally.

If you are interested in postgraduate study in this field, please contact Mike at

Mike has worked with a wide range of organisations in the UK such as the Rugby Football League, Street Games, Sport England, the NSPCC, the Child Protection in Sport Unit, and the NWG Network. Mike has also collaborated with many international partners – such as ENGSO Youth, the German Sports Council, the Austrian Sports Council and many universities – working on a number of pan-European projects aimed at preventing abuse and sexual exploitation of children in sport. Of particular note is the project ‘Sport Respects Your Rights’ within which Mike helped to educate young people in sport, from across Europe, about the issue of sexual exploitation and which provided a platform for young people to devise and deliver their own campaign on sexual violence in sport.

His research – ‘Voices for Truth & Dignity’ – is a collaboration between eight European countries focused on the perspectives of those with lived experience (‘survivors’) of sexual abuse in sport and funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme. This project recently culminated with a conference in Cologne where many men and women chose to speak out about their experiences and contribute to a ground-breaking research study that has also generated educational resources for the European sports community.

Mike sits on Sport England’s Advisory Panel; he is an academic expert for the Council of Europe/EU programme Pro Safe Sport; a member of the Men and Boys Coalition; and a founding board member of the Male Survivor Partnership (MSP). Mike is a member of Edge Hill’s Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR) and founded the research group ChiPS (Child Protection and Safeguarding), comprised of colleagues from across all faculties of the university with experience and expertise in delivering and researching child protection. Mike has served as a governor of Priestley Sixth Form College in Warrington since 2008.

In December 2016, Mike accepted an invitation to provide expertise on child protection in sport for the English Football Association’s independent review into allegations of child sexual abuse in football, led by Clive Sheldon QC.

Mike authored a research monograph ‘Sexual abuse in youth sport: a sociocultural analysis’ (Routledge, 2016) based on his work with ‘survivors’ of abuse in sport. In the previous national evaluation of research (REF2014) Mike’s work was judged to have had significant impact.

Watch this video to see a more creative summary of Mike’s work.

Publications since 2005


Hartill, M. (2016) Sexual abuse in youth sport: a sociocultural analysis. London: Routledge.

Lang, M. & Hartill, M. (2015) (eds.) Safeguarding, Child Protection and Abuse in Sport: International Perspectives in Research, Policy and Practice. London: Routledge.

Journal Articles

Hartill, M. (2005) Sport and the sexually abused male child. Sport, Education and Society 10 (3): 287-304.

Hartill, M. & Prescott, P. (2007) Serious business or ‘any other business’? Safeguarding and child protection policy in British Rugby League. Child Abuse Review, 16 (4): 237-251.

Prescott, P. & Hartill, M. (2007) Safeguarding children in sport: A view from Rugby League – the policy process, participative cultures and local relationships. Research, Policy and Planning: The Journal of the Social Services Research Group, 25 (2/3): 129-141.

Hartill, M. (2009) The Sexual Abuse of Boys in Organized Male Sports. Men and Masculinities, 12(2): 225-249.

Hartill, M. (2012) “I was afraid of looking weak in his eyes”: Narratives of male-athleticism and the sexually-abused male child athlete. Psychology of Women Section Review, 14(2): 57-62.

Hartill, M. (2013) Concealment of child sexual abuse in sports. Quest, 65: 241-254.

Vertommen, T., Schipper-van Veldhoven, N., Hartill, M., Van Den Eede, F. (2013) Sexual harassment and abuse in sport: The NOC*NSF helpline. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 50(7): 822-839.

Hartill, M. (2014) Exploring narratives of boyhood sexual subjection in sport. Sociology of Sport Journal 31: 23-43.

Hartill, M. & Lang, M. (2014) “I know people think I’m a complete pain in the neck”: An examination of the introduction of child protection and ‘safeguarding’ standards in English sport from the perspective of national governing body Safeguarding Lead Officers. Social Sciences, 3(4): 606-627. Special Issue: Contemporary Developments in Child Protection edited by Professor Nigel Parton.

Hartill, M. & Lang, M. (2018) Reports of child protection and safeguarding concerns in sport and leisure settings: an analysis of English Local Authority data between 2010 and 2015. Leisure Studies, 37(5): 479-499.