With an expertise in safeguarding in sport


Professor Emerita and Consultant, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences / Equal Rights in Sport, Norway


My research area the last 25 years has been on sexual harassment and abuse in sport. I did some of the first empirical studies in this area (2000-). I have had the opportunity to work with organizations that have been able to put some of the research into practice, such as the IOC, Norwegian Olympic Committee, Czech Olympic Committee, National Olympic of Zambia, Council of Europe and the EU.


I am a founding member of Safe Sport International and member of their advisory board. I am also a member of the academic expert Group appointed by IOC to develop the education for the Certificate Safeguarding Officer in Sport. I was involved in the Pro Safe Sport+ project and produced with Anne Tiivas the Training Kit from this project. I was also involved as an expert in the I-Protect - developing a platform for the Protection of Children in Sport. Recently, I have been involved in the project “Child Safeguarding in Sport” (CSiS). have done the desk research from the six countries involved and been the expert consultant for Norway in developing the roadmap for safeguarding children in Norwegian sports.

Main (personal/organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • 18 articles in refereed international research journals in the of sexual violence (towards children) in sport, 12 chapters in books (editor with Celia Brackenridge of one book), 8 reports
  • Expert consultant for the Norwegian Olympic Committee (since 2008) on prevention of sexual harassment and abuse in sport, development of rules and materials, including Guidelines to prevent sexual harassment and abuse in sport
  • Since 2006 expert consultant for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on sexual harassment and abuse in sport. My research has been part of the basis for development of the two position statements of IOC (2007 and 2016), and the development of the Sexual and Abuse in Sport e-learning videos, as well as the IOC Safeguarding Officer in Sport certificate program
  • Founding member Safe Sport International (SSI), Women Sport International (WSI)
  • Pro Safe Sport + Training Kit to prevent and react to situations of potential sexual violence against children and young people in sport
  • Participation in the i-Protect Platform for the Protection of Children in sport

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Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb, Croatia


I am a psychologist working as Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb. I teach courses in the field of sport and exercise psychology to undergraduate and graduate students of psychology (“Sport and Exercise Psychology”) and kinesiology (“Children in Sports”). At postgraduate level, I teach sport psychology to medical students enrolled in specialistic study of Occupational and Sports Medicine (“Psychology of Work and Sports”). In my research, I study factors that may enhance or undermine the psychosocial well-being of young athletes, with a particular emphasis on protective and risk factors associated with different forms of violence against children in sports. As a member of the Pool of experts on sexual violence in sport, I participated in “Start to Talk” campaign - a Council of Europe call for action to public authorities and the sport movement to stop child sexual abuse. I am currently involved in a European Union and Council of Europe joint project “Child Safeguarding in Sport” as a member of the national core group.

Main (personal/organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • “Gender equality and violence in youth sports” – project leader; research project founded by Ombudswoman for Gender Equality of the Republic of Croatia and Croatian Handball Federation (February 2019 – February 2021)
  • “The prevalence of violence and unsportsmanlike conduct among young football players in the city of Zagreb” - project team member; research project founded by Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport (September 2015 – March 2016)
  • Participation in organization and launching of the national “Start to talk” campaign (December 2019)
  • Invited lecture in The Croatian Parliament entitled: “Guidelines for scientifically based prevention of violent behaviour and sexual harassment in sport” (January 2019)
  • Co-author of “The sports code of conduct for preschool children” and “The sports code of conduct for school children” (2018) published as a part of Action plan for the implementation of the programme of educational measures in the fight against violence in sport; publisher: Republic of Croatia Central State Office for Sport; partners and collaborators: Croatian Fair Play Committee, Education and Teacher Training Agency, The Croatian School Sports Association, Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia, Croatian Olympic Committee, and University of Zagreb.


Melanie LANG

Reader (Associate Professor) in child protection in sport, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom


I am an associate professor and have been a researcher-advocate for safe sport for 17 years. My work focuses on preventing and managing child abuse and promoting children’s rights to protection and participation (i.e.: Voice) in sport to deliver safe sport and safeguard children. I author books and scholarly articles on these topics.

I educate the next generation of sports coaches and welfare officers on child abuse prevention and have designed and delivered training on safe sport for coaches and athletes in the UK, China, Ghana, Australia & Canada.

I work with national and international survivors of abuse, policymakers, educators (ie: coach trainers), (child) safeguarding officers in sport. My contacts led me to co-found the research Centre for Child Protection & Safeguarding in Sport – the world’s only dedicated unit specialising in research in this area. I lead the Centre’s free online seminar series to disseminate the latest knowledge on safe sport to practitioners, athletes and policymakers.

Main (personal/organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • Co-founder and co-director of the first research centre on safe sport for children, the Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport (CPSS). I run the centre’s free online seminar series that disseminates the latest research knowledge on safe sport
  • Co-designed and evaluated the first peer-led training course for coaches and athletes on understanding child abuse in sport. The project, which was funded by the IOC Advanced Researcher Grant programme, had coaches deliver training to peer coaches and athletes deliver training to peer athletes on what non-sexual abuse looks like in sport and how to prevent it. The course is the first evidence-based peer-led training course on abuse prevention in sport
  • UK national lead on the first study of the prevalence of child maltreatment in sport. The study established for the first time the magnitude of child abuse in sport in 6 European countries. I led the UK part of the project. (https://bit.ly/3nKiCG7 and https://bit.ly/3qJoLEd)
  • Invited by the IOC to deliver a module on the new “International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate”
  • Author of the first book on to focus on all forms of child abuse in sport (‘Safeguarding, Child Protection and Abuse in Sport: International Perspectives in Research, Policy and Practice’, 2015, and the only book on welfare in sport (‘The Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare’, 2021). See: https://bit.ly/3DCfeCK and https://bit.ly/3mKGUhQ

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Montserrat MARTIN

Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport, University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia, Spain


I am a senior lecturer of sociology of sport in a Sport Studies degree. I am researching in the area of Safe Sport for children and as such include material related to safeguarding in sport as well as knowledge on interpersonal violence against children in sport in my everyday classes and activities with my students



Main (personal/organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • I was a university partner of the European VOICES project
  • I am a university partner of the European CASES project
  • With my research group, we created a guide on how to recognize and prevent sexual violence against children in sport in Catalonia
  • I have interviewed more than 10 survivors of sexual violence in sport during childhood. I am currently working on this data to publish an article.
  • I regularly conduct interactive workshops on sexual violence in sport with coaches and other personnel in direct contact with children in sport.

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 Research group website

Miguel NERY

Professor and Researcher, Universidade Europeia, Portugal


Miguel Nery is a clinical psychologist and holds a PhD in Human Kinetics. His field of interest are bullying and safeguarding in sports. He has been developing research on athlete wellbeing that resulted in several publications. Currently he works as Professor at Universidade Europeia (Lisbon).

He is the co-author of the book “Bullying in Youth Sports Training: New perspectives and practical strategies” (with Carlos Neto, António Rosado and Peter K. Smith. Routledge, 2020), and was a co-author (with Bruno Avelar Rosa) of “Safeguarding and children in sport: the need for wide and systematic policies and pedagogic approaches” (2021) published by the International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement, an organisation under the auspices of UNESCO, as well as co-author of book chapters on bullying in sports.

He has been involved in several EU-Funded projects (Erasmus+ Sport). During 2020-2021, he was one of the national experts for the process of designing the Portuguese country-specific roadmap for effective child safeguarding in sport policies (developed in the framework of the EU-CoE Child Safeguarding in Sport joint project) and is currently involved in the drafting of a desk research on the situation of Bulgaria in the field of child safeguarding in sports as International Expert (in the framework of the Council of Europe Start to Talk initiative).

Main (personal/organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • Inclusion in international researchers’ network on child safeguarding, such as the Global Research Alliance (a network of researchers from 18 countries who develop research on adolescence) and, in 2020, the International Network of Researchers on Bullying in Sports (project REDES, funded by the Government of Spain)
  • Development of scientific research on athlete wellbeing. Co-author of book chapters on bullying in sport included in The International Handbook of Athlete Welfare (with Carlos Neto, António Rosado and Peter K. Smith. Routledge, 2020) and in the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Bullying (with Carles Ventura and Ashley Stirling. Routledge, 2021)
  • Participation in projects about child safeguarding

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Psychiatrist and Research Director of the Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare, Institute of Child Health, Greece


George Nikolaidis’s studies include a degree in Medicine and Psychiatry, a PhD in Epidemiology, an MSc in Philosophy of Mental Disorder and an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies. His scientific interest primarily lie in child abuse and neglet, child protection, public health sciences and epidemiology, with several published monographs and articles.

He was Scientific Coordinator/Principal Researcher in research, training & clinical national/international projects on child protection, violence & epidemiology. Since 2005, George is the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare of the Institute of Child Health. In addition to his role in the ICH, he was also Scientific Coordinator of the Day Center of the NGO “The Smile of the Child”, which provides treatment to children victims of abuse or neglet (2014 -2020), and Advocacy and Networking Consultant of Lumos Deinstitutionalization program for Greece (2014-2019).

At the international level, George is Greece’s national representative to the World Health Organization for child abuse and neglect issues, and of the CoE’s Lanzarote Committee, in which he was elected Member of Bureau (2014-2016), Vice-Chair (2016-2018) and Chairperson (2018-2020).

Main (personal/organizational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • Implementation of a “Project for a comprehensive psychosocial intervention in the town of Rethymnon”, funded by the European Social Fund, after the disclosure of the biggest even case of paedophilia in Greece (involving more than 200 children-victims in a period of more than 8 years prior to disclosure) which occurred within the context of a local basketball team for boys and adolescents. http://www.gma-ich.gr
  • Participation in Pro Safe Sport and Pro Safe Sport+ activities and in the launch of the “Start to Talk” initiative (in the capacity of Chairperson of the Lanzarote Committee) in Spain, the Netherlands etc.
  • Participation in conferences and meetings on safeguarding children’s rights in sports, organised by the Council of Europe, IWG Women&Sport, Play the Game and ECPAT, among others.
  • Overall contribution to the child protection agenda at national and international level having worked in projects in more than 35 countries as well as in European institutions for child protection.

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Researcher, Center for Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE) – Pedagogical Institute, Cyprus


Maria Papaefstathiou completed her basic studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (BSc Education Sciences - 2003). She pursued postgraduate studies at Brunel University London (MA, 2009) as well as at the University of East Anglia securing a scholarship (Ph.D, 2015) in child safeguarding and welfare with a focus on sport. Prior joining the Centre for Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE) she worked as a teacher in primary education in Cyprus and England and as an officer for the School Violence Intervention Team (OAP) of the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth. She has also worked as a Scientific Collaborator at the European University Cyprus, teaching at the Department of Social Sciences and Behavioral Sciences.

She has been involved in Council of Europe research projects on sexual harassment and abuse, gender-based violence and safe sport. As a member of the CoE expert group on sexual violence in sport, she has collaborated with local and international organisations (i.e. written policy and educational materials on sexual harassment and abuse in sport and safeguarding in sport).

She has published articles in scientific journals and books. Her research interests focus on: a) the study of violence against children in educational settings such as in sport, schools and other extracurricular activities, b) disaffected childhood, c) new sociological studies to childhood and d) the use of qualitative research analysis tools (narrative analysis, content analysis, discourse analysis).

Main (personal/organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • Written the Cyprus Sport Organisation’s (CSO) policy guidance on the promotion of welfare in sport for national sport federations
  • Written the CSO’s educational/guidance material on sexual abuse of children in sport
  • As a member of the Gender Equality in Sport Committee of the CSO, contributed to awareness actions taken for the development of knowledge and understanding regarding welfare and safe sport in Cyprus
  • Drafted roadmaps for Cyprus and Greece regarding safe sport in the framework of Council of Europe "Start to Talk" initiative
  • Participates as a consultant/scientific collaborator of the CSO (partner organisation) at the Erasmus+ project on Safe Sport Allies (2020-23)

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Mustafa Yasar SAHIN

Academic, Gazi University, Turkey


I am an academic at Department of Sports Sciences, Gazi University. My primary research interests are child protection in sports, and sport management. I teach on PhD course in child protection in sport and I supervised a PhD thesis focused on this topic, which was successfully finalized and submitted.

As the coordinator for child safeguarding in sports for the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports, I am responsible for appointing a child protection officer and establishing child protection boards in each national sport federation. In addition, a policy document on child protection in sports is being prepared and awareness and screening studies are being carried out to determine the prevalence of child abuse in sports.

I am the chair of child protection committee of the Turkish Curling Federation, which is the first child protection committee in Turkey. I train coaches and athletes on child protection in sport in various national federations, namely the Turkish Curling Federation, Turkish Fencing Federation, Turkish Canoe Federation, Turkish Ski Federation and Turkish Table Tennis Federation.

Main (personal / organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

  • Responsible for coordinating the work on child safeguarding in sports for the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports. Within this framework, child protection officers have been appointed in many sports federations in Turkey to date, and child protection committees have been established in Turkish Curling, Turkish Table Tennis, and Turkish Orienteering federation. For all coaches of those federations a training on safeguarding in sports has been provided.
  • We published several academic papers on child safeguarding in sports, including:
  • Uğurlu, A., & Şahin, M. Y. (2020). A general assessment on alcohol use and smoking within the framework of child protection in sport programmes. Journal of Human Sciences, 17(4), 986998.
  • PARASIZ, Ö., HALICI, A., & ŞAHİN, M. Y. The Correct Use of Images with Child Protection in Sport. Spor Bilimleri Araştırmaları Dergisi, 6(1), 184196.
  • I was awarded two certificates by the Play by the Rules Australian Sports Commission on Harassment and Discrimination (certificate number: 0545840-2019) and on Child Protection (certificate number:0545827-2018)

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Postdoc researcher and research coordinator, Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium


Dr. Tine Vertommen holds a MA in Ethics, a MSc in Criminology and a PhD in Health Sciences. She is the Research Coordinator of the Forensic Psychology Expertise Unit at the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences. Tine also works as a researcher at the Social Epidemiology and Health Policy institute of the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her research focusses on (the prevention of) interpersonal violence against athletes. Currently, she is leading an international project on promoting positive bystander behavior in local sport clubs.

Tine is the coordinator of the International Research Network on Violence and Integrity in Sport (IRNOVIS), member of the European Commission’s High-Level expert group on Gender Equality in Sport, and member of the Academic Advisory Board of the IOC Certificate Safeguarding Officer in Sport.

Main (personal / organisational) achievements in the field of safe sport

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