Experienced in providing support to (children) victims of sexual violence in the field of sport


Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Public Speaker, Consultant, Ireland


Safe Sport Advocate; VOICE Ambassador (Voices for Truth and Dignity Combatting Sexual Violence in European Sport through the Voices of Those affected); Accredited Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Trained in Family Systems and Choice Theory.

As a child, Karen was recognized as a talented swimmer with strong aspirations and a realistic chance of representing Ireland at the Olympic Games. Between the ages of 10 and 17, Karen spent endless hours in the swimming pool. During this time, Karen was routinely abused by her coach.

Since the publication of her story in the book Deep Deception, Irelands Swimming Scandals. Karen has been speaking out across Europe and advocating on behalf of children and young people.

She is working to create a greater level of awareness and to encourage safer spaces for children and young people in sport, working regularly with national and international organizations both in advisory and public speaking capacities.

Karen is an accredited psychotherapist. Through this avenue she has been able to help and support others, including survivors of abuse.

At the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, Karen is assisting the International Olympic Committee in educating athletes and entourage members about this important topic.

Experience in providing support to (children) victims of sexual violence in the field of sport

  • I was Sexually, Emotionally, physically and Mentally abused by my swimming coach when I was a little girl. I know and understand the deepest of pain, hurt and damage this causes to someone’s life. My life experience, my own personnel search to stay alive and live with the hurt, and all my studies to become an accredited psychotherapist has informed me to be able to support others.

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

Member of the PSS+ expert group


I was born in Greece; my studies include Medicine and Psychiatry; PhD on Epidemiology; MSc in “Philosophy of Mental Disorder”; MA in “Psychoanalytic Studies” My scientific interests include Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Politics, Methodologies of Quality Assessment of Health Services, Philosophy of Health Sciences and Psychopathology, Psychoanalytic Theory, and Methodology of Research. I am working as clinician, researcher and trainer also coordinating various national and international research and intervention projects on issues such as child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and child protection, mental health reform and rehabilitation, epidemiology and health policies. Since 2005, I am the Head of Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare of Institute of Child Health. Since 2014, I am also coordinating the therapeutic Day Center “The House of the Child” for victimized children operated by the NGO “The Smile of the Child”. I am the national representative of Greece to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for child abuse and neglect issues and CoE’s Lanzarote Committee in which I am also elected Vice Chair of the Bureau.

Experience in providing support to (children) victims of sexual violence in the field of sport

  • “Project for a comprehensive psycho-social intervention in the city of Rethymnon targeting at prevention and treatment of the phenomenon of child sexual abuse” (http://www.gma-ich.gr):  Provision of clinical services, implementing health awareness raising programs and training professionals in the biggest case of massive paedophilia disclosed in the town of Rethymon, Crete in the context of a local boys basketball club.
  • Provision of clinical services concerning child maltreatment (http://www.ich-mhsw.gr)
  • Series of presentations on protection of children from sexual victimization in the sports’ context, such as :
    • “Child sexual abuse in sport’s activities: the case- study of the city of Rethymnon”, Oral Presentation in the International Conference organised on 07-08 October 2013 by the Council of Europe, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), and the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources, in Budapest
    • “Sport without Fear – Our Concern, our Response”, M. Ruotanen, G. Nikolaidis, L. Bates, Th. Fleury, 6th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport, 12-15 June 2014, Helsinki, Finland
    • “Child sexual abuse in sport’s activities: the case- study of the city of Rethymnon”, Presentation at the 14th meeting of the Network of CoE’s Contact Parliamentarians, Strasbourg, 25/06/2013
    • “Child sexual abuse in sport’s activities: Council of Europe’s recent initiatives and an informative case-study from Greece”, Seminar: “Gender based violence in sport: protection of minors”, Greek E.U. Presidency, Athens, 20/03/2014

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