Child Maltreatment & Safeguarding in Sport Research Projects

The VOICE Project

Voices for truth and dignity – combatting sexual violence in European Sport through the voices of those affected.




EHU Lead and project co-lead: Dr Mike Hartill

Coordinator: Cologne Sport University

Partners: University of Southern Denmark, University of Vic (Spain), Thomas More University (Belgium), University of Vienna (Austria), University of Debrecen (Hungary), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), ENGSO Youth, European Paralympic Committee, European Gay & Lesbian Sports Federation, European University Sport Association, NWG Network.

Funder: European Commission Erasmus+ programme

Project grant: €497,616

Period: January 2016 – June 2018

The VOICE project will generate crucial research data for the European sport community by listening to the voices of those that have been affected by sexual violence in sport. The resulting evidence-base will provide a platform for powerful knowledge-exchange opportunities and educational resources. The objective is to enhance the sports community’s capacity to combat sexual violence and strengthen integrity in sport.

Gloria Viseras

Watch introductory video with Olympian Gloria Viseras and see project website for further details and updates.

Gender-based Violence in Sport





EHU Lead, UK country expert and core strategic team member: Dr Melanie Lang

Coordinator/contractor: Yellow Window

Funder: European Commission Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency

Project grant: €200,000

Period: November 2015 – November 2016

This study represents the first attempt to better define and measure the scope of gender-based violence in professional and grassroots sports across all 28 EU Member States and comprises a consortium of researchers from across all EU Member State countries. The objectives of the project are to:

  1. Describe the current situation regarding gender-based violence in sport at elite and amateur level by mapping and collecting data in all EU Member States
  2. Provide an overview of existing and recommended measures and legal framework on this area
  3. Identify best practices in combatting gender-based violence in sporting environments
  4. Provide recommendations for policy-makers and relevant (sport) stakeholders in the area of gender-based violence in sport

  Sport Respects Your Rights





Empowering young Europeans in sport for a culture of respect and integrity — against sexualised violence and gender harassment

 EHU Lead: Dr Mike Hartill

Coordinator: SPORTUNION Austria

Partners: Campaign Against Homophobia in Poland, Dutch National Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF), German Sports Youth, Italian Federation of Exercise & Fitness, Austrian Athletics Federation

Funder: European Commission

Project grant: circa €500,000

Period: April 2013-March 2015

Project website

Sport respects your rights was a transnational project, developed to fight abuse and gender-based violence in the youth sport sector. The project ran for 24 months, funded in the priority area Empowerment work at grassroots level as the only sports project in the Daphne III Programme 2011/2012 of the European Union. View the short animation about the project created at Edge Hill.

Sport respects your rights supported Europeans aged 16 to 22 to develop self-confident behaviour against sexualised violence and harassment in sports. Young sportswomen and sportsmen were given the platform to develop their own youth-led campaigns through which they raised awareness amongst peers, in their sport environment and beyond.

This participatory process allowed the young people to become powerful multipliers and active agents of social change in their settings. Parallel to the educational youth work, each project partner developed a multi-sector network in order to create long-lasting synergies to fight violence and harassment in sport.

The project network produced a catalogue of good practice from the implementation at national level, as well as recommendations and an evaluation report. These findings were published as a 64-page brochure and presented at the end of conference. This includes a summary of Edge Hill’s contribution; you can download it here: Sport respects your rights publication – PDF download.

Terry Newton and Charlie Webster at the Vienna conference.

The final European conference took place on 26th & 27th February 2015 in Vienna, Austria (programme) at which Dr Hartill gave a keynote presentation. Delegates includes Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE, Yves Le Lostecque (Head of Sport Unit, Directorate General Education and Culture (DG EAC) European Commission), Duncan Craig (CEO Survivors Manchester), Colette Eden (Lead Welfare Officer at the Rugby Football League), Anne Tiivas (CEO Child Protection in Sport Unit), and Marja Routanen (Director of Human Dignity and Equality within the Directorate General of Democracy, Council of Europe).



Delegates of the Sport Respects Your Rights conference in Vienna promoting the #STOP1in5 campaign with the hand-signal developed by the Edge Hill team.

Edge Hill campaign poster supported by male-victim support service ‘Survivors Manchester’.



















Sport Respects Your Rights continues in the UK through the staff and students at Edge Hill University and in partnership with Duncan Craig and Survivors Manchester and the Rugby Football League. One particular success was the #STOP1in5 campaign initiated by our young advocates and supported by many in the sports community including leading researchers and European ministers. See more details on our website.

Sport students at Edge Hill following peer-to-peer awareness raising training.

Prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports

EHU lead: Dr Mike Hartill

Coordinator: German Sports Youth

Additional partners:

Funder: European Commission

Project grant:

Period: 2011-2012


Dr Hartill was invited to act as one of ten international experts on sexual violence in sport to contribute to the production of a catalogue of good practice distributed to sport agencies throughout Europe, including drafting recommendations that were submitted to the European Commission in 2012.

Jan Holze – Chair of the youth organization of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation:

The conference “Safer, better, stronger – Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Abuse in sports” in November 2012, is the final stage of the EU-funded project “Prevention of sexualized violence in Sports – Impulses for an open, secure and sound sporting environment in Europe” and the contribution to provide a platform not only for strengthening transnational and cross-sector cooperation, but also for sensitizing and raising awareness on all levels of the complex social environment that surrounds the problem of harassment and abuse.

Bringing together individuals and organisations with differing competences is an optimal occasion to foster networks among experienced actors and beginners alike, to join European resources, to learn from and support each other as well as to encourage future collaboration. As a main outcome of this project, this catalogue of initiatives from Europe and beyond shall support this intercultural learning to develop national approaches to prevent sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports.












Key publications

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

Hartill, M., Lang, M. & Ashley, N. (2014) Safeguarding and child protection in Rugby League: A research evaluation. Funded by the Edge Hill University REF Fund and the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit.

Chroni, S., Fasting, K., Hartill, M, Knorre, N., Martin, M., Papaefstathiou, M., Rhind, D., Rulofs, B., Toeftgaard Støckel, J., Vertommen, T., Zurc, J. (2012) Prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports: Initiatives in Europe and beyond. Deutsche Sportjugend: Germany. Report from the ENGSO Youth-German Sports Youth project “Prevention of sexualized violence in sports – Impulses for an open, secure and sound sporting environment in Europe” funded by the European Commission (2011-12).