What is CSiS?
A need for (more) effective child safeguarding in sport policies
Sport is great for children. It brings joy and healthy habits. It boosts self-esteem and creates a sense of belonging. Through sport, children adhere to key values and learn important life skills. Nevertheless, children can be at risk when in a sports environment. Violence against children in sport happens far too often, in all countries, in all disciplines and from grassroots to elite sport.
If public authorities and sport organisations are to overcome denial, break the taboo and take concrete measures to protect children, prevent and respond to all forms of violence in sport, there is also an urgent need to develop comprehensive child safeguarding policies and action plans and implement them efficiently to keep all minors safe in sport.
This is emphasised by both the European Union and the Council of Europe normative and policy framework, namely:
- The Recommendation of the Council of Europe on gender mainstreaming in sport (2015), which invites governments of member States to adopt, implement and monitor policies and measures, in co-operation with sport organisations, to prevent and combat gender-based violence against women and girls in sport (physical intimidation or violence, verbal, psychological, physical and sexual harassment and abuse).
- The Recommendations of the European Commission Expert Group on Good governance on the protection of young athletes and safeguarding children’s rights in sport (2016), that recommends to EU member States to implement effective legislation and regulation in fighting against violence to minors in sport, to support sport organisations for the development of child protection policies, as well as to encourage collaboration/effective partnerships between sport organisations.
Here are some other important Council of Europe standards that set out that states in Europe and beyond shall adopt specific legislation and take measures to prevent violence, to protect the victims and to prosecute perpetrators, in all settings:
- The Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Lanzarote Convention, 2007)
- The Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention, 2011)
Other resources and guidelines:
- Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on safeguarding children in sport (Council of the EU, 2019)
- Safeguarding Children in Sport. A mapping study (European Commission, 2019)
- The study on gender-based violence in sport (European Commission, 2016)
- International safeguards for children in sport (2016)
The aims of the CSiS project were to guide and accompany European countries in the development of (more) effective child safeguarding in sport policies that ensure safe, positive and empowering sport environments for all children.
To that end, a specific focus was made on the setting up of Child Safeguarding Officers in sport – as key players in the development and implementation of child safeguarding strategies, including the complicated tasks related to case management. Partner countries were guided on how to set up, train and support these resource persons in their country.
The project was based upon the following three components:
- Providing the partner countries with tailor-made roadmaps for (more) effective child safeguarding in sport policies, including concrete steps for setting up Child Safeguarding Officers,
- Developing the competences and skills of those who will have a role to play in implementing the roadmaps and in the setting up of CSO roles,
- Equipping all those who can play a role in ensuring a safe sport environment for all children (Child Safeguarding Officers, decision-makers, coaches, sport leaders, trainers, etc.) with resources and examples of good practice.
European countries willing to set up positions for Child Safeguarding Officers in sport
AUSTRIA: 100% SPORT
CROATIA: Ministry of Tourism and Sport
ISRAEL: Ministry of Culture and Sport
PORTUGAL: Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth
Good practice owners
Public authorities and sport organisations that have already established a network of resource persons in charge of child protection in sport
Experts on safe sport
Researchers, academics and practitioners from our pool of experts who bring their knowledge, skills and experience throughout the project
- Mike HARTILL, Director, Centre for Child Protection & Safeguarding in Sport (CPSS), UK
- Havard OVREGARD, Senior Adviser, NIF (Norwegian Olympic & Paralympic committee and Confederation of sports)
- Anne TIIVAS, Chair, Safe Sport International, UK
- Tine VERTOMMEN, Criminologist, Thomas More University, Belgium
STEP 1 Design of the country-specific roadmaps
STEP 2 Extension, redesign and update of the Pro safe sport + online resource centre
STEP 3 Training seminars
STEP 4 Setting up of the European network of Child Safeguarding Officers