Project description

Safeguarding children from violence and abuse in local sport clubs

Too many children experience sexual, psychological or physical violence during their participation in organized sport. Following painful disclosures and prevalence studies that can no longer be overlooked, child protection and safeguarding practices are being developed and implemented throughout European sport. However, to date, these initiatives lack solid evidence of impact. Monitoring and evaluation data are barely existing, which compromises an evaluation of their effectiveness. Moreover, grassroots sport clubs seldom have designated staff to adequately implement the required procedures and practices.

One of the most devastating factors in too many stories of violence against young athletes is the phenomenon of bystanding. Even though child abuse is in most cases a repeating event, signs of abuse are still often overlooked, or bystanders decide not to act upon them. Passive bystanding contributes to the continuation of children’s suffering and protects the abuser. In order to stimulate prosocial bystanding, it is crucial to educate sports club stakeholders on when and how to intervene in case of a report, disclosure, or concern.









In this European collaborative partnership, we aim to take an evidence-based approach in setting up, implementing, and evaluating bystander interventions. A multidisciplinary group of sport administrators, survivors, safeguarding practitioners and researchers will develop an educational program for athletes, coaches and parents, and a policy roadmap for club managers. In order to test the effectiveness, a longitudinal evaluation study with an intervention and control group will be conducted in two countries.

This project will provide useful insights in developing, implementing, and evaluating an intervention program to stimulate prosocial bystander behavior and safeguard children in grassroots sport clubs. By organizing national workshops and a European webinar, the educational materials will be disseminated into the wider EU sport community.