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Prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports

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Prevention of sexual and gender
harassment and abuse in sports
Initiatives in Europe and beyond
Prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports
Initiatives in Europe and beyond
Imprint
Lead organisation of the project “Prevention of sexualized violence in sports – Impulses for
an open, secure and sound sporting environment in Europe“:
Deutsche Sportjugend im Deutschen Olympischen Sportbund e.V.
Otto-Fleck-Schneise 12
60528 Frankfurt am Main
www.dsj.de
www.dsj.de/childprotection
Authors: Chroni, Stiliani /Greece
Fasting, Kari /Norway
Hartill, Mike /the United Kingdom
Knorre, Nadezda /the Czech Republic
Martin, Montserrat /Spain
Papaefstathiou, Maria /Cyprus
Rhind, Daniel /the United Kingdom
Rulofs, Bettina /Germany
Toftegaard Støckel, Jan /Denmark
Vertommen, Tine /Belgium
Zurc, Joca /Slovenia
Editors: Deutsche Sportjugend im Deutschen Olympischen Sportbund e.V.
(www.dsj.de) in cooperation with
Institut für Sozialarbeit und Sozialpädagogik e.V. (ISS-Frankfurt a.M.)
Irina Volf
Verena Bongartz
Zeilweg 42
60439 Frankfurt am Main
www.iss-ffm.de
Graphic design: AM Grafik, Rodgau (cover page)
Copyright: © Deutsche Sportjugend (dsj)/ November 2012
Support: The network of the European project “Prevention of sexualized violence in sports
Impulses for an open, secure and sound sporting environment in Europe“ gratefully
acknowledge financial support from the European Commission through the preparatory
actions in the field of sport. This publication reflects the views of the authors and does not
necessarily reflect the official European Commission’s view on the subject.
All rights reserved. Printed in Germany. No parts of the publication may be reproduced or
distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a databases or retrieval system, without
the prior written permission of the publisher, except as permitted under Copyright law.
Preface
Dear readers,
physical, social and emotional interaction experienced during sports and recreational activities
are very important for the development of social cohesion, not only amongst children and
youth but amongst sportswomen and -men of all ages. By offering numerous possibilities for
non-formal education, sports is an essential factor to help and create a harmonious and
inclusive European social environment. As a result, close personal relationships and trust are
created amongst the involved individuals and while this aspect is often essential when training
for success, it also represents an area of significant vulnerability for sexual and gender
harassment and abuse.
Within the context of nation-wide discussions concerning the different reports about the abuse
of children in public and private institutions, the German Olympic Sports Confederation and
the German Sports Youth developed structures and guidelines, based on the existing concepts
of their member organisations, for the prevention and intervention of sexual and gender
harassment and abuse in the sporting environment. As such, when the Sport Unit issued the
call for proposals in the preparatory actions in the field of sport 2011 which aimed at
supporting projects to fight violence and intolerance in sport, the opportunity to address this
topic at the European level was ideal. Through the exchange of experiences between
European countries, by increasing the scope of the European network and highlighting the
particular challenges which are faced when implementing preventative measures, the German
Sports Youth hopes not only to develop its own practice, but to give impetus to further
transnational cooperation and developments within the sector.
As this topic will never be explored enough in the light of the damage that it can and has
done, the persisting effort to create a secure and sound sporting environment in Europe will
challenge the sport sector to develop new impulses and nurture a proactive attitude
continuously. Working together to face this problem will be essential in order to improve the
situation in a growing number of countries and therefore every effort, commitment and
engagement in this direction deserves deep respect and credit.
I would like to thank the European Commission for the support and I look forward to
pursuing this path together with you,
Ingo Weiss
Chair of German Sports Youth within German Olympic Sports Confederation
Preface
Dear readers,
sport is currently a disputed social terrain, it exposes individuals and society to positive values
on the one hand, but at the same time bears the potential to be harmful. Therefore, we believe
that one of the main tasks for the European sporting movement is to ensure and work towards
safeguarding the integrity of sports. Focusing on preventive measures and investing
continuously into the education of European sportswomen and –men, especially our European
youth sector, plays a vital role in accomplishing this long-term positive development. As
such, when aiming to effectively promote the ethical values inherent to sports and in order to
truly offer all individuals and groups in society equal opportunities to participate in and enjoy
the benefits of sport, concerted European action is required.
Bringing together a European project network and finding common denominators between
various actors and bodies from different levels of the European sporting, social and scientific
environments is a challenging task and easily underestimated in terms of the resources which
are necessary for a project to run smoothly. Despite the fact that European coordination often
includes compromising, adjusting and adapting in previously unforeseen ways, initiating and
being involved in projects such as this one always allows an organisation to grow and
develop its capacities, networks and know-how.
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.
I hope you can use this opportunity to its full potential and look forward to cooperating in the
future,
Jan Holze
Chair of the youth organization of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation
Table of contents
1. Introduction ................................................................................................... 9
2. Empirical findings and existing recommendations .................................. 11
3. The status quo in selected European countries ......................................... 14
4. Initiatives in Europe and beyond ............................................................... 18
Sexual harassment and abuse study among Norwegian female elite athletes ......... 19
Women in sport in the Czech Republic - experiences of female athletes................ 22
Prevalence of male sexual harassment among Greek female sports
participants ............................................................................................................... 26
Detection and prevention of sexual harassment and violence in sport (France) ..... 30
2012 forum: Breaking the cycle of child sexual abuse (Greece) ............................. 33
Respect in Sport. Canada’s online programme ........................................................ 37
From research to a social change – preventing sexual harassment in sports (Czech
Republic) .................................................................................................................. 40
A model to prevent sexual abuse in sport (Canada) ................................................ 42
Red card against sexualised violence in sports (Germany) ..................................... 45
Police check for those working with minors and the mentally disabled in
sports clubs (Norway) .............................................................................................. 48
Good sport environments for children (Denmark) .................................................. 51
Establishing the National Child Safeguarding in Sport Panel (UK) ........................ 54
Member protection policy (Australia) ..................................................................... 57
Against sexualised violence – a commented guideline for safeguarding
children and youth in sports clubs (Germany) ......................................................... 60
‘Sexuality and policy’ framework (Belgium) .......................................................... 63
Helpline for sexual harassment in sports (Netherlands) .......................................... 67
What about the respect – we not me (Denmark) ..................................................... 71
The FA respect and licensed coach scheme (UK) ................................................... 73
Evaluating child protection and safeguarding within a national governing
body (UK) ................................................................................................................ 78
5. Conclusion .................................................................................................... 81
List of abbreviations ................................................................................................... 82
References .................................................................................................................... 83
9
1. Introduction
The sexual realm of human experience is closely associated with many social taboos.
Therefore, whilst sexual behaviour, disposition and orientation perhaps represent the most
intimate and profound expressions of a person’s identity, they can also represent an aspect of
significant vulnerability for all individuals. This may especially be the case for those who are
already subjugated through organisational or social attitudes and practices, through armed
conflict, or as a result of not conforming to culturally dominant models of sexual behaviour.
Over a decade ago, Peter Donnelly (1999, p. 108) claimed that sports organisations had
behaved as though sexual abuse “could not possibly occur in the pristine world of sport.”
However, during the past two decades a number of researchers have drawn attention to the
problem of sexual exploitation and abuse in sport (Brackenridge & Fasting, 2002) and the
impact of those endeavours can now be observed at an international level (IOC, 2007;
UNICEF, 2010). Whilst large-scale prevalence research into sexual harassment and abuse in
sport is sorely needed, studies show that this is a problem that affects many athletes. For
example, a study conducted in Australia revealed that “31% of female and 21% of male
athletes [N=370; male=160] reported experiencing sexual abuse at some time in their lives. Of
these, 41% of females, and 29% of males had been sexually abused within the sports
environment” (Leahy et al., 2002, p. 16). A recent report by Child Helpline International
underlined that “organised sports and recreational activities are also significant settings where
abuse takes place” (CHI, 2010).
The language, terms and definitions used to describe and explain negative interpersonal
sexual behaviours and experiences across international boundaries and in different cultural
contexts can be confusing. The variety of definitions relating to sexually violent and/or
exploitative behaviours tend to place emphasis on the perpetrator and/or victim, whilst
ignoring wider social factors closely associated with this problem and its prevention.
Therefore, in establishing the parameters for the problem that this publication is designed to
address, it was considered important to define the problem in comprehensive terms rather than
focusing on the narrower frame of individual acts. This also reflects the underlying aim and
scope of this publication to articulate ways to prevent rather than simply to depict the
problem of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports. The main terms used in this
publication are adapted from the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and
Confederation of Sports (2010) as well as on Norwegian Gender Equality Act and defined as
follows.
Harassment relates to unwanted attention or conduct, the violation of dignity and/or the
creation of a threatening, hostile, intimidating, degrading, humiliating or offensive
environment.
Abuse implies that a person’s rights are violated or infringed by another. This is based on an
abuse of power and trust.
Gender-based harassment means unwelcome conduct related to a person’s gender and has
the effect or purpose of offending another person’s dignity.
Sexual abuse means to trick, force or coerce a person into any sexual activity the person does
not want, or is not sufficiently mature to consent to.
Sexual harassment refers to behaviour of a sexualized nature which is, unwanted,
exploitative, degrading, coerced, forced and/or violent.
Such behaviours may be verbal, non-verbal and/or physical. The examples of verbal
harassment and abuse include unwanted or degrading intimate questions relating to body,
10
clothes or one’s private life, jokes with a sexual innuendo, and proposals or demands for
sexual services or sexual relationships. These may also be in the form of unwanted telephone
calls, letters, text messages or other communication with a sexual content. The non-verbal
examples of harassment and abuse include staring, gestures, showing pictures or objects with
sexual allusions. The examples of physical harassment and abuse include unwanted,
unnecessary or forced physical contact of a sexual nature, such as pinching, pressing oneself
onto the body of others, attempting to kiss or caress another person, sexual penetration and
rape.
Sexual and gender harassment and abuse and the realm of sport
Building on these definitions, it is aimed to address the problem of the violation of human
rights within sport, expressed through sexual or sexualised conduct. Although such conduct is
understood to be frequently manifested through individual behaviour, it is closely associated
with collective values and established social power relations. Regardless of the specific form
such behaviour takes, it often has a damaging impact on the person who experiences it and
can result in negative long-term consequences, both for individuals and organisations.
For the sports community, it is important to consider not only that perpetrators may be
attracted by the unregulated access that sport often provides to children and vulnerable adults,
but that its specific structures, values and cultural practices might also generate conditions
conducive to the abuse of power and trust and the manifestation of sexual and gender
harassment and abuse. The perpetrators of sexual harassment, violence and abuse are
overwhelmingly male, and research has noted that the all-male, hyper-masculinist
environments that are widespread within sport are particularly conducive to the exploitation
of women and children.
Furthermore, sport frequently involves close personal relationships, both among groups of
athletes and between individual athletes and their coaches or leaders. According to
WomenSport International (WSI, 2004) the trust that develops between the athlete and leader
is often regarded as an essential part of training for success. Essentially, a perpetrator (already
in a position of relative power) may seek to establish a relationship with the victim which
appears to be built on trust and mutual objectives. This can create a situation where the victim
is unable to resist sexual advances, which are then escalated to the point where the victims
may feel they have consented to the sexual activity and are responsible for it. The sexual
activities become even more confusing and even more difficult to resist. It appears to be easy
for more powerful individuals, whether seniors, peers or coaches, to take advantage of those
with less power using demeaning, sexually harassing behaviour such as sexist jokes or
unwanted touching or, in the most extreme cases, abusing them sexually, emotionally or
physically.
This may especially be the case in contexts where there is little or no awareness of human
rights and/or equality, especially children’s rights, and a lack of opportunities for all groups to
engage in decision-making processes. Therefore, whilst sexual and gender harassment and
abuse cut across all social categories, perpetrators are overwhelmingly those in positions of
social, cultural, organisational or situational power, and victims are overwhelmingly those in a
subordinate position relative to the perpetrator(s). As such, some social groups may be
particularly vulnerable to this form of human rights violation, especially where there is an
absence of codes of conduct and professional standards. A number of researchers and
international organisations put much effort to explore the problem and to provide
recommendations and guidelines on how to address this issue at various levels. Chapter 2
attempts to provide an overview of such efforts.
11
2. Empirical findings and existing recommendations
Our knowledge on incidence and prevalence, prevention and control of sexual and gender
harassment and abuse in sports has been enriched since researchers started publishing
empirical and anecdotal data on this topic in the early 1990s. Qualitative interviews with
female victims of sexual abuse in sport have highlighted a series of risk factors related to the
victim (e.g. younger than the perpetrator, lack of a strong relationship with their parents), the
perpetrator (e.g. older than the victim, in a position of significant power) and the organisation
(e.g. no codes of conduct or clear reporting procedures) (Brackenridge, 2001; Cense &
Brackenridge, 2001; Fasting & Brackenridge, 2009; Klein & Palzkill, 1998; Toftegaard-
Nielsen, 2003). There have been qualitative studies on male victims (Hartill, 2009), the
impact of policy (Hartill & Prescott, 2007; Rulofs, 2007) as well as case studies of sexual
abuse (Rhind, McDermott, Lambert & Koleva, 2012; Vertommen, 2011).
The quantitative studies of the prevalence of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in
sports have been undertaken in a number of European countries including Denmark
(Toftegaard-Nielsen, 2001), the UK (Alexander, Stafford & Lewis, 2011), the Czech Republic
(Fasting & Knorre, 2005), France (Jolly & Décamps, 2006; Décamps, Dominguez, Jolly &
Afflelou, 2011) and Greece (Chroni & Fasting 2009). These studies have reported significant
incidents of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in the realm of sports. Thus, a study of
elite female athletes in Norway revealed that 28% of the sample had been sexually harassed
and/or abused in a sports setting (Fasting, Brackenridge & Sundgot-Borgen, 2004). Similarly,
a study in the UK reported that 29% of the sample of athletes representing all competitive
levels had been sexually harassed (34% of females and 17% of males) while 3% had been
sexually abused (5% of males and 2% of females) (Alexander et al., 2011).
The first calls for attention over the problem of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in
sports appeared to mainly concern girls and women in sports. Today, however, it is
acknowledged that this problem concerns both genders. Most studies inside sport settings
have surveyed elite female athletes’ experiences of sexual harassment by a male perpetrator
(coaches and/or peer-athletes). Some studies have included both male and female athletes.
Besides the empirical study by Hartill (2009), cases of sexual harassment among male athletes
appear to be an under-researched area; there is also inadequate knowledge about same-sex
female harassment. Since the phenomenon of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in
sports is under-reported for both male and female athletes of all levels and ages, there is a
great potential for more research in this area in most European countries and particularly in
those, who have no past scientific documentation of the problem.
In parallel with the increasing knowledge, a number of international organisations and
political structures have developed directives and recommendations on how to address the
problem of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sporting environments. The
corresponding recommendations will be shortly presented in a chronological order.
In 1994, the organisation WomenSport International (WSI) published the first information
brochure on sexual harassment, which ended with guidelines for what should be done to help
prevent sexual harassment and abuse in sport. Recommendations included: implementing
codes of ethics and conduct for coaches, whether they work with adults or children; fostering
a climate of open discussion about the issues of sexual harassment and abuse; adopting athlete
and parent education programmes which inform and advise athletes on their rights and how to
maintain their integrity and autonomy and the adoption of rigorous screening procedures for
the appointment of all sports personnel.
12
Ten years later (2004), WSI produced the first ever position statement condemning any form
of sexual harassment exhibited toward female athletes. In the recommendations offered for
minimising the risk of sexual exploitation in sport, the WSI position statement suggested such
actions as adopting harassment-free policies and procedures and systematically monitoring
their effectiveness; initiating education and training programmes for all individuals involved
in sport on harassment-free sport and embedding democratic leadership styles to mitigate
abuses of power.
Following two reports by Brackenridge and Fasting on "The problems women and children
face in sport with regard to sexual harassment" (1998) and the "Analysis of codes of practice
for preventing sexual harassment and abuse to women and children in sport" (1999), the
European Ministers responsible for sport adopted Resolution No. 3/2000 on the “Prevention
of Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Women, Young People and Children in Sport”. The
Council of Europe asked their member states to “commission research and collect data at
national level, in co-operation with national or international organisations and researchers, to
ascertain the scale and importance of this problem in sport in their countries”, and to “prepare
a national policy” (p. 1). Today a number of EU member states still have not prepared and
adopted a national policy against sexual harassment in sport, nor researched the phenomenon.
In 2003, the EU Parliament Resolution on Women and Sport urged its “Member States and
sports federations to adopt measures for the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment
and abuse in sport by enforcing the legislation on sexual harassment at work, to inform
athletes and their parents of the risk of abuse and the means of legal action available to them,
to provide sports organisations’ staff with specific training and to ensure that criminal and
disciplinary provisions are applied” (INI/2002/2280, §40).
In 2005, a recommendation on discrimination against women and girls in sport was passed by
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who called for combating sexual abuse
in relation to sport. In 2010, the Council of Europe initiated the campaign 1in5 aiming for
stopping sexual violence against children.
In 2007, the EU Parliament further urged its member states ”to define best practices against
sexual harassment and abuse in the sports domain” and “to adopt measures for prevention and
control and to organise educational campaigns” (ΙΝΙ/2007/2086, §57).
In addition, the European Commission published the White Paper on Sport where it
recognises the need for protecting “the moral and physical integrity of young people through
the dissemination of information on existing legislation, establishment of minimum standards
and exchange of best practices” (2007, p. 17).
In the same year the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopted a Consensus Statement
on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport suggesting several practical steps to improve
athlete safety by providing guidelines for prevention and resolution. The IOC
recommendations once again promoted actions such as: the development, monitoring and
evaluation of policies and procedures for the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse in
sport; the development of education and training programmes and the nurturing of strong
partnerships with parents and care-givers in order to prevent the phenomena.
Also in 2007 the United Nations published its first report on Women, gender equality and
sport (2007). The report focuses on the violence against women, exploitation and sexual
harassment and recommends that “there should be commitment to creating safe and
supportive environments for women and girls to participate in sport” and that “initiatives must
address a number of key issues such as gender stereotyping, power relationships between
13
coaches and athletes, as well as the link between international sporting events and prostitution
and the risk of human trafficking to fill that demand” (pp. 29 - 39).
In 2010, UNICEF published the review document Protecting Children from Violence in Sport
revealing the absence of research data and knowledge and the necessity to establish structures
for eliminating violence in sport. The document provides recommendations for minimising
the risk of sexual harassment and abuse in sport among children. Among the
recommendations provided, some prevention initiatives can be applied to children athletes
and others to both children and adults. There is a strong emphasis on the need for research.
Accordingly, prevention policies should be based on reliable evidence, since “without an
evidence-based framework, policies may be based on myths, stereotypes or lack of awareness,
and may simply be ignored” (p. 23). The document presents specific areas where further
research is needed such as the diverse forms of physical and emotional abuse of children in
sport, the prevalence, forms and impact of violence in sports worldwide, and experience
gathered in societies outside the current research base.
Overall, the recommendations for the prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse
set forth by various international bodies and organisations are geared towards two main
courses of action: prevention and control.
For the prevention of the phenomenon actions endorsed cover the areas of:
(i) delivery and dissemination of research that will supplement our knowledge, deepen
our understanding and improve our methods of intervention;
(ii) development of codes of ethical behaviours for all involved parties;
(iii) education and training of all involved parties (coaches, staff, athletes, parents, etc.);
and
(iv) development of action plans and adoption of policies against sexual and gender
harassment and abuse in sports;
For the control of the phenomena the proposed actions endorse:
(i) establishment of specific procedures that will support and protect all involved parties;
and
(ii) monitoring of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports and rigorous
evaluation of all measures in effect.
In spite of the abovementioned efforts for safe sporting environments across the EU and the
member states of the Council of Europe, not all member states have acknowledged or acted
upon these recommendations. In order to make a difference in the European sporting
environment, these recommendations need to be endorsed at all levels: international, national,
and local. The sports community must acknowledge that if the potential benefits of sport are
to be realised by participants, there must be “collaboration between the agencies responsible
for sport for development and those responsible for child protection” (UNICEF, 2010, p. 27)
and for equal rights. Without effective partnerships for knowledge generation and sharing of
best practices, change will be haphazard and limited and perpetrators in sport will continue
exhibiting inappropriate behaviours and many children, women and men will continue
experiencing harassment and abuse within sport.
Aiming at facilitating the cross-national exchange on prevention of sexual and gender
harassment and abuse in sports Chapter 3 points out the challenges of the cross-national
comparison at the European level; describes how this problem became a public issue in
several European countries and how they responded to it; and, finally summarises what the
European countries can learn from each other’s experiences.
14
3. The status quo in selected European countries
Cross-national comparison of how the European countries manage the prevention of sexual
and gender harassment and abuse in sports is complicated by a number of factors. Besides the
fact that the European countries have different national legal frameworks, they all have
differently organised sport structures that vary drastically in terms of possibilities to initiate
policy changes. Thus, cases of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sporting
environments can fall under a range of various legislative areas that address sexual conduct in
general and not within the sporting context in particular. Such cases can be regulated by
employment law, sexual offences acts, child protection, safeguarding vulnerable groups as
well as equality and/or discrimination. Furthermore, the fact that the age of consent across
Europe – the minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent
to sexual acts – varies from 13 to 18 years illustrates the complexity and difficulty of
suggesting one approach that may function across national, cultural and legal borders. See
Table 1.
Table 1: Age of consent in selected countries
Countries Age of consent
Spain
13
Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Portugal
14
The Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Poland, Romania,
Sweden, Slovenia
15
Bel
gium, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom
16
Cyprus, Republic of Ireland
17
Malta, Turkey
18
In some countries the age of consent is raised to increase the protection of specific vulnerable
groups (e.g. the 15-year age limit is elevated to 18 for all relationships where care/teaching is
central, including sport).
Whereas sport structures and stakeholders are also organised differently throughout Europe,
coherent approaches and networking are extremely useful to create a complex action plan and
policies within a single country. To overcome these challenges and to help individual
countries navigate this problem there is urgent need for guidance and policy on the European
level. Since during the last two decades several European countries have managed to achieve
significant progress in addressing the problem of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in
sports at different levels, it is important to present how the problem became a public issue in
these countries and how they responded to it.
High-profile cases of abuse across Europe
Within a twenty-year historical perspective, media coverage of cases of abuse in sport appears
to have played an important role for attracting attention to the problem. In Denmark, France,
Germany, the Netherlands and United Kingdom, sexual violence and abuse within sport
became a significant public issue during the 1990s, when the national media provided
extensive coverage of cases of child sexual abuse in sporting contexts. Such cases led to
“moral panic” which became the catalyst for change.
In the UK, there was intense media coverage of the Paul Hickson case from 1993 until his
eventual conviction in 1995. Hickson, an Olympic swimming coach, was sentenced to
15
seventeen years in prison for rape and sexual assaults against female teenage swimmers in his
care. Following the Hickson case and much advocacy work, a Child Protection in Sport Task
Force was convened in 1999 which led to the establishment of the Child Protection in Sport
Unit (CPSU) in 2001. This unit works with key stakeholders throughout sport to minimise the
risk of children being abused within the sporting context.
In Germany, the topic became public when in 1995 a severe case of child abuse was reported
in the German media. Karel Fajfr, a successful coach in figure skating, was sentenced by a
court for eleven cases of sexual abuse and two cases of bodily injury against his female
skaters. Fajfr was sentenced to two years in prison, fined approximately 13,000 and banned
from coaching for three years.
In 1995, the former teacher, scout leader and sports coach Jacky Kaisersmertz admitted to
systematically sexually abusing children in France over more than 30 years. His activities
were uncovered after one of his former victims killed himself. Some 72 male victims aged 8
15 years were identified and 60 filed complaints reached the court, leading to 20 years
imprisonment. French sports organisations commissioned research and policy work in 2007
after two high-profile abuse cases. One involved the hammer thrower Catherine Moyon, who
reported being a victim of sexual violence from coaches and other athletes during training.
Then, Isabelle Demongeot, a former high-ranking tennis player, claimed to have suffered
several years of repeated rape by her coach while still a minor.
In the Netherlands, a high-profile case was reported in 1996. A group of three elite female
judokas officially accused their coach Peter Ooms of sexual abuse. He had guided all of them
to the Olympic Games. Although these complaints did not really differ from earlier
complaints voiced in public, the response of both the sports federation and the public was
stronger than ever. The coach was condemned for his abuse, fired and prosecuted by law. This
incident motivated the Netherlands Olympic Committee and Netherlands Sports
Confederation (NOC*NSF), the largest sports confederation in the Netherlands, to start a
project against sexual harassment and abuse in sport. This project had two main goals: first, to
develop a structure that assists sports federations in case of an actual incident, and second, to
develop a prevention programme for eliminating the permissive sports culture that seemed
partially responsible for incidents like the Ooms case.
In Denmark, an HIV-positive martial arts coach caused extreme media headlines in 1998,
when it became clear that one of eleven systematically abused boys had been contaminated.
The coach was sentenced to four years imprisonment. The national sports organisations
distanced themselves from this case highlighting that the coach had been operating a non-
profit sports club with no formal affiliation to them. Nevertheless, this case gave impulse to
sports organisations to prevent convicted perpetrators from entering sport by introducing
criminal record checks.
The above examples illustrate how high-profile media coverage can contribute to the problem
of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports becoming a public issue and facilitating
changes on the national levels. In contrast, it also suggests that in some countries, despite
high-profile cases of abuse and international calls for action, significant efforts are yet to be
made in order to address the problem of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports and
to translate sport specific resolutions into concrete policy actions.
Examples of national approaches
The comparison of approaches how the European countries (that have made significant
progress in the prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports) address this
issue reveals that their structures share a number of important characteristics such as, for
16
example, a centralised agency that deals particularly with sport and embeds best practises.
Thus in the United Kingdom the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) was established in
2001. Its mission is to build the capacity of sports, to safeguard children and young people in
and through sport and to enable sports organisations to lead the way in keeping children safe
from harm. The CPSU has established policies in relation to the governance and practice of
sport in England. In particular, all centrally funded governing bodies of sport are required to
achieve a three-tiered system of national standards as a condition of continued funding. This
is part of a national strategy for safeguarding children and young people in sport (2006
2012). In 2010 the CPSU issued a ‘Call to Action’ which introduced a new ‘Framework for
Safeguarding Children in and through sport’. The key objectives of the framework are to
enable sport to embed good safeguarding practice at all levels within sport and to integrate the
involvement of children and young people in the development and implementation of
safeguarding processes.
Another example of a centralised support service can be found in Norway. Updated guidelines
were approved by the board of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and
Confederation of Sports (NIF) in 2010. These ten new guidelines concern both sexual
harassment and abuse. In addition, a booklet is available with definitions and general
information on the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse. Both the guidelines and
booklet prescribe mandatory procedures in case of sexual harassment and abuse (NIF, 2010).
In the Netherlands, the governing body Netherlands Olympic Committee and Netherlands
Sports Confederation (NOC*NSF) established a helpline for sexual harassment in sport,
which employs about 20 counsellors. The counsellors work to support victims, parents,
alleged perpetrators and sports organisations and refer callers to other relevant professional
organisations. This helpline is part of a group of strategies targeting the prevention of sexual
and gender harassment and abuse in sports. Other strategies include a code of conduct, an
exemplary policy for organisations, a registration system of convicted perpetrators, an e-
learning module on policy development, an annual training of local welfare officers, a tool-kit
for helping organisations get started, information campaigns and evaluation measures through
scientific research.
In Germany, 2010 was the starting year for a broad prevention campaign initiated by the
German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and the German Sports Youth (dsj). This
campaign encompasses a variety of different strategies. Firstly, all DOSB member
organisations nominated a commissioner for the prevention of sexualised violence.
Furthermore, the DSJ now maintains a website (http://www.dsj.de/kinderschutz) with
information on prevention of sexualised violence, e.g. contact details for commissioners
within the organisations as well as drafts of ethical codes prepared by specific member
organisations. This work has been supplemented by the establishment of an expert group, the
hosting of a national conference and the creation of a training programme for key personnel.
Brochures have also been produced to provide guidelines on child protection and the judicial
system (Rulofs, 2011).
Alongside these structures, some countries require criminal record checks for people working
with children. For instance, the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and
Confederation of Sports decided in March 2008 that every person (whether unpaid volunteer
or paid staff) working with children in sport must provide police clearance concerning prior
conviction for abusing children sexually. This law was implemented in January 2009 and
applies to all levels of sports organisations. In Denmark this procedure became compulsory by
law for all persons working with children younger than 15 years of age and since 2012 Danish
voluntary organisations have to declare compliance to this law, which includes coach
education as a key task of every structure, when applying for public funding.
17
What can European countries learn from each other?
Although different European countries are at different stages of development regarding the
prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports, they can all learn from each
other’s experiences. As illustrated media coverage can be an important trigger for subsequent
action concerning high-profile cases. When cases of abuse are highlighted, awareness
amongst politicians, key stakeholders and the public can provide a context which encourages
changes in favour of the prevention of future cases. At the same time the tendency to publish
only extreme cases can contribute to a perception that sexual and gender harassment and
abuse in sports are rare and extreme events. Media coverage of cases which fall at all stages
of the continuum of sexual and gender harassment and abuse needs to be encouraged in order
to facilitate a holistic approach.
Through conducted research in Europe, countries can share and compare findings to highlight
similarities and differences (e.g. Fasting, Chroni, Hervik & Knorre, 2005). In countries where
no research of sexual and gender harassment and abuse has taken place yet, there is scope for
exploratory and descriptive research to define and clarify the extent of the problem. Countries
that have built upon such work and have conducted prevalence studies can begin to undertake
more advanced research in order to analyse the factors which promote and prevent sexual and
gender harassment and abuse in sports. This will facilitate the further development,
implementation and evaluation of interventions. Through the exchange of European research,
the potential to employ a more diverse range of methodological approaches (such as case
analysis, ethnography, systematic observation and experimentation) is also increased.
Although differences exist in the approaches to prevent sexual and gender harassment and
abuse in sports in several European countries, highlighting key elements of the applied
strategies could guide developments in other countries. For example, a common denominator
which has been identified is the need for clear structures, policies and procedures regarding
sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports. This can be facilitated by defining clear
action plans including prevention measures (e.g. criminal record checks, educational
programmes and codes of conduct), managing allegations (e.g. clear reporting procedures and
mechanisms for supporting the victim and the alleged perpetrator) and managing the case
post-judgment (e.g. sanctioning the individual and learning from the case so that the
experiences can feed into future preventative methods). Research and performing systematic
evaluations is also required to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of each of these key
elements. A lack of relevant structures dealing with the prevention of sexual and gender
harassment and abuse in sports remains to be a limiting factor to address the problem in a
number of European countries.
18
4. Initiatives in Europe and beyond
To provide a stimuli for action to explore and prevent sexual and gender harassment and
abuse in sports for a range of actors including academic community, policy-makers, human
rights activists, sports’ stakeholders, coaches and athletes, this chapter provides nineteen
examples on how this problem is tackled in various contexts. These examples originate from
nine European countries as well as Canada and Australia which, together with the United
Kingdom, seem to be in the vanguard of eradicating this problem. The sixteen European
examples cover initiatives from Belgium (1), the Czech Republic (2), Denmark (2), France
(1), Germany (2), Greece (2), the Netherlands (1), Norway (2) and the United Kingdom (3).
Three examples from Australia (1) and Canada (2) complement the list.
To illustrate how the international recommendations may be translated into action, the
examples have been arranged according to the recommendation types discussed in Chapter 2
covering initiatives on research, awareness-raising, education and training, action plans and
policies, supporting and protecting procedures as well as monitoring and evaluation. Finally,
the provided examples cover not only accomplished initiatives but also those that are still in
progress and require time for being monitored or evaluated. Thus each example contains not
only detailed information on its historical background and content but also information on
what makes this particular initiative good and what its limits and possibilities are.
19
Sexual harassment and abuse study among
Norwegian female elite athletes
Kari Fasting
Historical background/context of the initiative
The Norwegian Women Project was administered by the
Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and
Confederation of Sports (NIF) from 1995 - 2000. Its
objective was to increase the number of women in sport
leadership positions, in coaching and other supporting
areas. It also aimed at improving the quality of female
participants in top-level sports in order to increase the
number of medals won internationally. One of the
methods used to reach these goals was research. The
research part of the Norwegian Women Project contained
a number of different research areas such as pregnancy
and motherhood for elite athletes, bronchial hyperactivity
and asthma, the menstrual cycle and its effects on
performance, stress, incontinence, sexual harassment,
and the female athlete triad. The main goal for the part of
the project concerning sexual harassment and abuse
(Fasting et al., 2000) was to produce knowledge which
could be of practical use for athletes and sports
organisations, particularly in relation to the prevention of
harassment and abuse. When the data gathering took
place in 1998, no empirical study on sexual harassment
and abuse had taken place in Norway. At about the same
time, a big scandal occurred in Norwegian sports. The
coach to Vebjørn Rodahl, a Norwegian runner who had
won a gold medal for 800 metres in the 1996 Olympics,
was sacked by the Norwegian Track and Field
Association, by his club, and a couple of days later by
Vebjørn Rodahl himself. The coach was accused of
having sexually harassed/abused two female athletes.
The case itself raised many questions inside Norwegian
sport because it became clear that Norwegian sport did
not have a system to handle such cases. As the first
empirical study on sexual and gender harassment and
abuse occurred more or less at the same time, the
research project received a lot of attention both inside
and outside the sports environment when its first results
were presented in 2000. A total of 660 elite female
athletes aged 15 39 representing 58 sports disciplines
were invited to participate in the original study. Once the
structure of the respondent female athlete sample was
known, a control group from the general population was
defined, matched by age. Data was gathered by means of
a mailed questionnaire. A total of 572 athletes (87%) and
574 control group participants (73%) answered the
questionnaire.
Type of recommendation:
Research
Location: Norway
Implementing body:
Norwegian School of Sport
Sciences and the Norwegian
Olympic Committee (NIF)
Problem tackled by the
practice: Surveying the
experience of sexual
harassment and abuse among
female elite-level athletes and
non-athletes
Target group: Norwegian
female elite-level athletes and
non-athletes
Year of implementation: 1997
– 2009
Stakeholders: NIF
Financial/human resources:
Norwegian school of Sport
Sciences and the Norwegian
Olympic Committee
The initiative in short:
20
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
The purpose of the survey was to get an overview of sexual harassment, the degree to which it
existed and the degree to which it could be characterised as a problem for Norwegian sport.
Respondents’ experiences with sexual harassment were measured through eleven questions.
More than half of the female elite athletes had experienced one or more forms of sexual
harassment and/or abuse either inside or outside sport. Most perpetrators were men, but both
the athletes and non-athletes had been exposed to sexual harassment and abuse from women.
No difference between the athletes and non-athletes was found when the experiences of
sexual harassment and abuse of the athletes in a sport setting were compared with the
experiences of sexual harassment and abuse at work or at school among the non-athletes
(28%). It was concluded that that sexual harassment was a societal problem and, as a
consequence, a problem for Norwegian sport, but there was no reason to conclude that sport
in general was worse than other areas.
A challenge with doing survey research is that one often gets a very low response rate. As
shown above, this was not the case for this study. It is difficult to know why such a good
response rate was achieved. One possible explanation is that this research project was
supported not only by the Norwegian Olympic Committee but also by the different athletes’
own sports federations. The fact that the questionnaire was primarily not about sexual
harassment and abuse, but about eating disorders and attitudes towards doping etc., may also
have helped to encourage returns.
Underreporting is another typical problem with difficult and sensitive issues such as sexual
harassment and abuse. There are therefore reasons to believe that underreporting also exists in
this study. In addition, it should be mentioned that respondents were asked about the past:
“Have you ever experienced any of the following situations? There is, therefore, the
possibility that experiences of sexual harassment and abuse were forgotten or suppressed.
This might have been particularly true for those who had experienced more serious forms of
sexual harassment and abuse.
Time scale
This survey data were gathered through 1997 and 1998, and results were published in 2000-
2004 (Fasting et al., 2000; 2003; 2004). A follow-up study was later conducted in which 25
qualitative interviews were carried out with athletes who had experienced sexual harassment
(Fasting et al., 2002; 2007; 2009).
Bodies/Stakeholders and target groups
The project was funded by Norwegian Olympic Committee and the Norwegian School of
Sport Sciences and targeted at researchers and national sports organisations.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
Five reasons stand out for why this project deserves a place in this catalogue:
1) Sports organisations have often neglected the fact that sexual harassment and abuse
occur in sport. As a consequence it has also been difficult for researchers to get access
to carry out studies. This was not the case here. The study was initiated and supported
by the sports organisations themselves.
2) The sample consisted of all elite-level female athletes in Norway. It is often difficult for
sport scientists to get access to the best athletes.
3) The study has an extraordinarily high answering percentage and is thereby
representative for the populations studied.
21
4) It is so far the only research project, nationally and internationally, which in the same
study has compared athletes with non-athletes.
5) Based on the results of this study, the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee
and the Confederation of Sports developed and adopted guidelines for safeguarding
athletes against sexual harassment in sport (NIF 2000).
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
This study was the first done in Norway on sexual harassment and abuse in sport, and it was
also one of the first empirical studies in the world in this area. Though there are ethical
reasons for not doing such surveys, sports politicians need valid research as a basis for action.
When in 2000 NIF held a press conference where the main results of the study were
presented, it received a lot of media attention. There is reason to believe that this raised the
level of consciousness in the general population and in sport that sexual harassment and abuse
were issues one needed to prevent from occurring. Though the first ever guidelines
safeguarding athletes from sexual harassment in sport that were adopted as a result of this
study could have been much better, there is reason to believe that they have had some
preventive effect.
References
Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. H. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2000). Female Elite sport and Sexual
Harassment. Oslo: Olympia toppen.
Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. H. & Walseth, K. (2002). Consequences of Sexual Harassment
in Sport. The Journal of Sexual Aggression, 8(2), 37 – 48.
Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. H. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2003). Experiences of Sexual
Harassment and Abuse among Norwegian Elite female athletes and non-athletes. Research
Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74(1), 84 – 97.
Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. H. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2004). Prevalence of Sexual
Harassment among Norwegian Female Elite Athlete in Relation to Sport Type. International
Review for the Sociology of Sport, 39(4), 373 – 386.
Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. H. & Walseth, K. (2007). Women Athletes’ Personal Responses
to Sexual Harassment in Sport. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 19, 419 – 433
Fasting, K., & Brackenridge, C. H. (2009). Coaches, sexual harassment and education. Sport,
Education and Society ,1, 21 – 35
Norges idrettsforbund (2000) Retningslinjer I forhold til seksuell trakassering I idretten.
Vedtatt av Idrettsstyret 13.06.00 [Guidelines towards sexual harassment in sport. Adopted by
the board of the Norwegian Olympic Committee 13.06.00].
22
Women in sport in the Czech Republic - experiences
of female athletes
Naděžda Knorre
Historical background/context of the initiative
The issue of sexual harassment in sport is not yet part of
Czech public agenda, although sexual harassment was
defined as a wrongful act in the Czech Labour Code of
March 1, 2004. Sexual harassment is defined here as
behaviour of a sexual nature in any form rightly
perceived by the respective employee as unwelcome,
inappropriate or insulting and the intention or impact of
which leads to reducing the dignity of the physical
person or to the creation of a hostile or disturbing
environment at the workplace or may be rightly
perceived as a condition for decisions influencing the
performance of rights and duties in the employment
relationship. Similar provision is made in relation to the
army and the police.
Nevertheless, current sociology research shows a certain
tolerance of mild forms of sexual harassment as being
characteristic of the Czech society.
In 2001, the Women and Sports Committee of the Czech
Olympic Committee in cooperation with the Czech
Sports Union therefore initiated a research project on
issues related to women in sport. The research was part
of a larger cross-cultural project called Gender Relations
in Sport The Experiences of Czech, Greek and
Norwegian Female Athletes.
The goal of the project was to assess the present role and
situation of women in sport and in sports organisations in
the Czech Republic. Professor Kari Fasting from the
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences was asked to chair
and develop the project in cooperation with Nada
Knorre, head of the Women and Sports Committee of the
Czech Olympic Committee.
Type of recommendation:
Research
Location: Czech Republic
Implementing body: Czech
Olympic Committee
Problem tackled by the
practice: Empirical research
on sexual harassment in sport
Target group: 600 athletes
(top level, recreational level,
sports universities students)
Year of implementation: 2001
- 2005
Stakeholders: sports
organisations and sports
universities in the Czech
Republic
Financial/human resources:
Czech Olympic Committee &
Norwegian School of Sport
Science
Website: www.olympic.cz
The initiative in short:
23
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
To perform well and enjoy practice and competition it is important for athletes to feel
comfortable and safe. Therefore athletes were asked several questions about this. The goal of
the project was to develop knowledge about the influence and the meaning of gender relations
in the lives of female athletes in the Czech Republic.
The following specific research questions were defined:
1. What are the major barriers for female participation in sport?
2. What are female athletes’ and female sports students’ experiences with male and female
coaches?
3. What amount of harassment is experienced by female athletes?
4. What are the barriers to female involvement in coaching, refereeing and administration?
Methodological approach and target groups
The participants, 595 female athletes and exercisers from all areas of the Czech Republic,
answered a structured questionnaire. They represented 68 different sports disciplines and
physical activities. Their average age was 23 years. Because of the wide representation of
sports, the range in ages and the country-wide distribution of the participants, it is believed
that the results can be generalised to the Czech female athletic population.
In addition to the questionnaire, a semi-structured interview was conducted with nine elite-
level athletes. For analytical purposes, the participants were divided into three groups: elite-
level athletes (N = 229), non-elite-level athletes (N = 224) and exercisers (N = 142). To be
considered elite athletes, participants had to train at least four times a week and have
participated either at international-level events during the past two years or in the Olympic
Games, World Championships or European Championships. The non-elite-level group
consisted of those athletes who were competing but who did not qualify for the elite group.
The exercisers were practicing sport, but did not compete. The elite athletes were the
youngest (average age of 22 years) and the exercisers the oldest (average age 24 years). About
2/3 of the participants were students (about half of the students were sports students).
Findings
Almost 90% athletes participating in the study answered that they would feel safe if they were
alone with a coach or a member of team personnel. In general they also felt safe in travelling
to and from training. Some situations are however experienced as more threatening.
Almost half of the participants in the study mention that coaches, management team members
or other athletes made derogatory or general remarks about them or other people either always
or sometimes.
The study asked three questions measuring the athletes’ experiences with sexual harassment,
and only one question concerning their experience of physical harassment. Concerning the
latter, 53 athletes (9%) said that they had been slapped on the face, head or ears by a coach,
teacher or a member of a sports management team.
The study asked whether athletes had ever experienced certain situations described as follows:
a) unwanted physical contact, body contact (for example pinching, hugging, fondling,
being kissed against the will, etc).
b) repeated unwanted sexually suggestive glances, comments, teasing and jokes, about
body, clothes, private life etc
c) ridiculing of sports performance and of an athlete because of gender or sexuality.
24
For each of these questions the participants were asked to mark whether they had experienced
it from a male or female coach, from a male or female athlete, from a male or female member
of the management team, from a male or female teacher, from male or female students, from a
male or female family member, or from other males or females outside sport. In presenting
the results, experience of sexual harassment means that a subject has marked one or more
forms of sexual harassment; it does not indicate the severity, frequency or total volume of the
experiences.
As many as 72% of respondents of this study have experienced some form of sexual
harassment.
In most studies the harasser is a man. This was also true in this study, but relatively many
female harassers were found: 69% (402 athletes) experienced sexual harassment from males
and 28% (162 athletes) from females. The athletes have more often experienced sexual
harassment from someone outside sport (58%) than from someone in sport (45%).
The chance of being harassed by someone inside sport increases with performance level, from
33% among the exercisers to 55% among the elite athletes. But exercisers have a much higher
chance of being sexually harassed by someone outside sport (73%) than someone who takes
part in competitive sport.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
It was the first time that the issue of sexual harassment in sport has been researched in the
Czech Republic. Collecting such data on athletes’ personal experience is a fundamental step
forwards for sports in the Czech Republic in general. The importance of preventive work
appeared clearly in the project results. Important general recommendations were addressed to
all sport organisations:
- ensure that gender issues are mainstreamed in all coach education courses for men and
women coaches in line with EU policy;
- adopt clear and strict regulations that ban sexual relationships between coaches and their
athletes;
- in accordance with the EU Resolution on Women and Sport (June 2003) to develop a
policy for educating and protecting people in sport from sexual harassment, the Czech
Olympic Committe and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, published a
booklet titled Preventing SH in sport in the Czech Republic in 2005. 5000 copies were
printed. The booklet based on the project results and should help to:
recognise, through education, what is meant by sexual harassment;
protect athletes and coaches from sexual harassment;
protect coaches from false allegations of sexual harassment;
refer concerns about sexual harassment to the authorities;
be confident that athletes’ and coaches’ concerns and reports will be taken
seriously;
ensure that coaches or athletes who are proved guilty of harassment are
sanctioned.
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
As mentioned in the introduction, the overall aim of the project was that the results should
serve as a basis for sports organisations in the Czech Republic. The project succeeded in
producing recommendations based on findings which will ensure that Czech sport becomes
more gender-equitable and that the culture of sport is improved for all athletes, male and
female. It is now up to the different Czech sports organisations to see that the
25
recommendations are put into practice. This will eventually also bring the Czech Republic
into line with the targets established by the International Olympic Committee and the
European Parliament’s Resolutions on Women and Sport.
Last but not least project results should do more than attract media attention: they should
also place a huge focus on preventive work at all levels and in all structures of Czech sport.
References
Fasting, K. & Knorre, N. (2005). Women in Sport in the Czech Republic - The Experiences of
Female Athletes. Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and Czech Olympic Committee. Oslo
& Prague.
26
Prevalence of male sexual harassment among Greek
female sports participants
Stiliani “Ani” Chroni
Historical background/context of the initiative
Sports in Greece have a rich and long history. Through
the years, despite territorial occupations, wars, political
and social reforms, sport has remained a dynamic social
institution. Greek men and women have the opportunity
to participate in sports and profit from its potential
benefits.
However, anecdotal and media reports have brought to
light a number of cases of sexual and gender harassment
and abuse harmful to the athletes suffering them. In
addition, through my work as a sports psychology
consultant I have been told by athletes of certain
inappropriate behaviours exhibited toward them, and in
my capacity as an academic teacher I have also observed
inappropriate behaviours toward sports science students
with my own eyes.
As I listened to Kari Fasting’s presentation on sexual
harassment research at the 2004 Pre-Olympic Congress,
it became important to me to collect research-based
evidence exposing the occurrence of the phenomenon. I
realised that, to work toward a safer sports environment,
(a) future coaches and PE teachers needed research-
based educational material and (b) the key players in
Greek sport needed to be alarmed based on actual data if
they were to take any action against sexual harassment.
The issue of sexualized violence in sport was not part of
the Greek public agenda then, and it still is not today.
The cases of abuse against male and female athletes that
managed to attract media attention did not attract the
attention of Greek state authorities. The governing
bodies and key players in Greek sports in 2004 were the
Sub-Ministry of Sport and the General Secretariat of
Sports overseeing all sports and sporting activities.
Furthermore, at the time of the study design (2004)
sexual harassment was neither officially defined nor
recognised as a wrongful act in Greece.
Sexual harassment was defined as a wrongful act in
Greece in August 2006 in compliance with the EU
Council and Parliament Directive (2002/73/EC) for the
equal treatment of men and women in employment.
Accordingly, law 3488/2006 came in effect covering the
public and private labour sector in Greece. Educational
institutions and other voluntary organisations, such as
sports clubs, were not protected under the new law.
Type of recommendation:
Research
Location: Greece
Implementing body: Stiliani
Chroni, Kari Fasting and
students
Problem tackled by the
practice: First set of data on
sexual harassment in Greek
sport
Target group: Recreational,
national and elite Greek
female athletes
Year of implementation: 2005
– 2008
Stakeholders: All involved
parties with sports
Financial/human resources:
Partially funded by the
University of Thessaly’s 3rd
EU Committee of Education
Fund (2002 – 2008)
Website:
http://www.hape.gr/emag.asp
The initiative in short:
27
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
The study was part of a larger cross-cultural project titled Gender Relations in Sport The
Experiences of Czech, Greek, and Norwegian Sporting Women
Problem tackled/Target of the initiative
Taking into account the significant negative effects of sexual harassment experiences
documented in the literature and the lack of knowledge on its prevalence in Greek sports, this
project explored various aspects of gender relations in sport, and we also attempted to answer
the following question: What is the amount of sexually harassing behaviour experienced by
Greek women who participate in sport at various performance levels?
Methodological approach/Target groups
A total of 308 Greek women participated in the project; their mean age was 21.45 (± 2.90). At
data collection time (2005 2006), 55.5% of them were coached by a man, 19.8% were
coached by a woman and 24% did not have a coach at all. The participants were active in a
variety of individual sports (N = 167; e.g., track-and-field, swimming, tennis, gymnastics,
etc), team sports (N = 103; e.g., basketball, volleyball, handball, softball, etc.), and non-
competitive sports activities (N = 28; e.g., aerobics, jogging, dance). Within two years prior to
data collection, 63.6% of the women had competed in their respective sport, while 36.4% of
them only practiced regularly without competing. All of them trained an average of 4.71
2.05) times per week (Mhours = 11.09 7.16) per week). The highest level of competitive
experience within the last two years was the international level for 29.2% (i.e., had competed
in Olympic Games, World or European competitions), the national level for 34.4% (i.e., had
competed at various Hellenic competitions), and the non-competitive exercise for 36.4% of
them (i.e., practiced regularly but had not competed in the last two years). With regard to
international competition experiences, the highest level recorded was the European
Championship/Cup circuit for 12.3%, the World Championship/Cup circuit for 11.4%, and
the Olympic Games for 5.5% of them.
The participants filled out a written questionnaire and among other questions they were asked
if they had ever experienced any of the following three situations from men inside and/or
outside of sport: (i) unwanted physical contact, body contact (for example pinching, hugging,
fondling, being kissed against their will, etc); (ii) repeated unwanted sexually suggestive
glances, comments, teasing and jokes about their body, their clothes, their private life etc.; and
(iii) ridiculing of their sports performance and of themselves as athletes because of their
gender or their sexuality (for example “Soccer is not suitable for girls”).
Findings
Overall, 71.5% of the participants reported having experienced one or more of the three
sexual harassment forms from men. When looking at the environment of the harasser, they
reported significantly more sexual harassment experiences from men outside the world of
sports (64%) than from men inside the world of sports (42%) (p = .000). With regard to the
forms of sexual harassment experienced, they reported repeated unwanted sexually suggestive
comments, glances, jokes, etc. at 57%, unwanted physical contact at 42%, and ridiculing of
them as women and their sports performances at 39%. These forms were experienced in the
exact same order from men both inside and outside the sporting environment.
The participants’ overall experiences of sexual harassment from men with respect to their
performance level showed no significant variations (p > .05). When comparing athletes of
various performance levels, there were non-significant variations in numbers of sexual
harassment experiences from men inside sports. However, there were significant variations
among the three performance levels with regard to their experiences of sexual harassment
28
from men outside sports (χ2 = 7.741; df = 2; p = .021). In particular, there were significantly
more experiences of sexual harassment from men outside sports by the exercisers (40.1%)
followed by the national level athletes (35.9%) and then the international athletes (24%).
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
For the first time in Greek sports, the issue of sexual harassment was examined in a specific
group (i.e., women) that represents 50.5% of the country’s overall population (National
Statistic’s Agency, 2001) – a group that has often been under-represented and/or marginalised
within society at large and in the context of sports (see Sydney Scoreboard, 2011). Collecting
data on personal experiences of sexual harassment was seen as a fundamental step for Greece,
even though it was undertaken in the academic setting, for complying with the EU Parliament
directive (INI/2002/2280) to conduct research on sexual harassment and abuse in sports.
Most importantly, the necessity to recognise sexual and gender harassment and abuse in
sports as an existing phenomenon was documented by the study, and the need for more
research, preventive work and handling procedures was articulated.
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
The sensitivity of the issue and the limited funding prevented the collection of extended data.
Sexual harassment is treated as a societal taboo in Greece, and the occurrence of it in sports is
regarded with disbelief and irony; as a result, the study’s findings have been criticised as
fictional. Moreover, the lack of a methodical connection between sports science research that
is performed in an academic context and Greek sports overseen by their governing bodies has
not allowed studies like the one presented here to make an impact besides attracting media
attention. The lack of the researchers’ involvement with politics and political parties in
Greece has been another barrier for the study’s findings to challenge key players into
recognising the existence of the phenomenon and taking any action against it.
Today, the two main sports governing bodies and key players in Greek sport are the General
Secretariat of Sports, which oversees all competitive sports, and the Special Secretariat of
Sports under the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, which is responsible for sport-for-
all. Sexual and gender harassment and abuse is still not part of their agenda (although an
increasing number of cases attracted media attention in the fall of 2011), and sports
organisations and stakeholders are unprotected against sexual and gender harassment and
abuse, as there are no specific laws and/or policies or codes of ethical conduct in place.
Ultimately, it is only under an EU directive that the Greek government will take proactive and
reactive measures for safeguarding male and female athletes from sexual harassment and
abuse experiences. Meanwhile, any collaboration between sports science researchers and
sports governing bodies on the prevention and control of sexual harassment and abuse raises
the possibility of progressive change.
References
Chroni, S. (2008). Εργαστήριο έρευνας και άσκησης: Γυναίκες και αθλητισµός Ι [Research
and exercise laboratory: Women and sport I]. Available at http://www.gender.uth.gr/lab2.asp
Chroni, S. & Fasting, K. (2009). Prevalence of male sexual harassment among female sport
participants in Greece. Inquiries in Physical Education & Sport, 7(3), 254-262. Available at
http://www.hape.gr/emag.asp
European Parliament (2002). INI/2002/2280: child protection, children’s rights. Available at
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=//EP//TEXT+TA+P5-TA-2003-
0269+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
29
European Parliament and Council (2002). Directive 2002/73/EC. Available at
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32002L0073:EN:HTML
Fasting, K., Chroni, S., Hervik, S.E., & Knorre, N. (2011). Sexual harassment in sport toward
females in three European countries. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46, 76-
89.
Fasting, K., Chroni, S., & Knorre, N. (in press). The experiences of sexual harassment in sport
and education among European female sports science students. Sport, Education, & Society.
National Statistics’ Agency (2001). Available at
http://www.statistics.gr/portal/page/portal/ESYE
Sand, T.S., Fasting, K., Chroni, S., & Knorre, N. (2011). Coaching behavior: Any
consequences for the prevalence of sexual harassment? International Journal of Sport Science
& Coaching, 6, 229-242.
Sydney Scoreboard (2011). Available at http://www.sydneyscoreboard.com
30
Detection and prevention of sexual harassment and
violence in sport
Greg Décamps, Joca Zurc
Historical background/context of the good-practice
The first publicized case of sexual abuse in sport in
France was that of athlete Catherine Moyon, hammer
thrower, who reported being a victim of sexual violence
from coaches and other athletes during a training
preparation in the 1990s. At that time, the sports minister
was trying to pursue this matter but this had no visible
effect on a national political level. In 2000, former tennis
player Isabelle Demongeot claimed to have suffered
several years of repeated rape by her coach. After
Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president in 2007, she
informed him about the incident and he responded to her
request. The president entrusted Roselyne Bachelot,
Minister for Health and Sports, the burden of
establishing a program which:
- assesses the extent of the phenomenon in France;
- aims to prevent the occurrence of violence in sport;
- promotes monitoring and listening to victims.
In 2007, the Ministry of Sports established a working
group to address the problem of sexual harassment and
abuse in sports and issued a national survey to
investigate the prevalence of abuse coordinated by Greg
Décamps, University of Bordeaux and the hospital of
Bordeaux.
There is no specific law on sexual violence in sport in
France at the moment. However, French law considers
two types of sexual violence: sexual assaults and sexual
abuse. The assaults include rape, forcible touching
against the will of the victim, and sexual harassment. The
sexual abuse concerns other forms of sexual violence
that are not performed by use of force, threat, coercion or
surprise. The Working Group of the Ministry of Sports
adopted the following terminology: sexual assault, sexual
abuse and sexual harassment (bullying/extortion,
exhibitionism/ voyeurism).
Type of the recommendation:
Research
Location: France
Implementing body: Ministry
of Sports
Problem tackled by the
practice: Protecting athletes
from sexual assaults and
sexual abuse in France
Target group:
Victims and all level athletes
in organized sport in France
Year of implementation/
duration: 2007 – 2009 (most
insensitive realization), some
activities still going on
Stakeholders: Sport
federations in France
Financial/human resources:
Ministry of Sports
The initiative in short:
31
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
Four actions have been implemented by the working group of the Ministry for Health and
Sports in France:
1. Developing a code of ethics for sports facilities;
2. Implementation of prevention and awareness programs in sports centres;
3. The creation of trainings and formations including the theme of sexual violence for the
professionals working in sport centres (coaches, medicals…);
4. Setting up a call centre to listen to victims of sexual harassment and abuse in sport.
The code of ethics was drafted by the working group of the Ministry of Sports and signed by
the Minister of Sports and the French Olympic Committee president in March 2008. The
signing of the French Olympic Committee was then set to engage each of the French sports
federations to get involved in the fight against sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual
harassment in sports by:
- adopting the system proposed by the Ministry of Sports;
- supplementing the system by taking further steps and more discipline-specific actions
(for example establishment of rules of good conduct for athletes, coaches, supervisors,
leaders, parents, etc.).
Outside of sports federations, the actors responsible for managing the program of control and
prevention are:
- the regional structures of the Ministry for Health and Sports (nearly twenty regions in
France);
- the training centres for athletes from each region.
In an effort to facilitate awareness and prevention activities, the Sports Ministry has
commissioned a tool available to the educators and medical personnel of sports centres. This
tool consists of a DVD on which scenes are played by actors to explain how certain contexts
may enhance the occurrence of sexual harassment and abuse or to better understand the
psychological reactions of victims. The ministry suggested in 2008 that all sports facilities
had to organize a prevention day once a year.
From 2007 to 2009, a national survey on sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment
in sports was conducted in France. This was undertaken by the University and the hospital of
Bordeaux and was performed on more than 1400 athletes through a questionnaire distributed
in sports centres. In this questionnaire, the athletes were asked to indicate whether they had
experienced any sexual abuse, assault or harassment in a sporting context and describe the
context of occurrence of such violence and its repercussions. The results showed that 17% of
athletes had definitely experienced sexual harassment, assault or abuse previously (11%) or
thought that they were confronted to such situations (6%). The majority of victims were girls,
however, many boys also reported that they had been victims: the distribution girls / boys
among the victims was 60/40. Girls generally experienced more "serious" situations, and
situations that were generally repeated more often. The survey showed that violence could
occur in collective contexts (49%) or in "isolated" situations (51%). 77% of victims who
participated in the investigation had already spoken to someone. For 23% of athletes, the
survey was the first time they had spoken about their sexual abuse experience.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
Good practice in preventing sexual harassment and abuse in sports in France includes all
levels of athletes, all national sport federations and all organized sports participants. The
activities reached victims, potential victims and their couches as well. The initiative included
three different approaches: policy (code of ethics), education (DVD) and research (national
32
survey on 1400 athletes). This program is an example of good practice because it is a
structured way how to deal with the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse in all forms of
organized sports on national level. This example also highlights the importance of the
research findings for developing prevention programs with a more precise understanding of
sexual harassment and abuse phenomena in sports. The presented good practice example
connects research, policy and practice of preventing sexual harassment and abuse in sports in
France. A standardized terminology underlines this. Policy (the working group of the Ministry
of Sports) has adopted the following terminology: sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual
harassment which were later used in research (the national survey on sexual violence in sport
in France) and in practice (the implementation actions of prevention and awareness programs
in sports centres).
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
The signing of the French Olympic Committee’s code of ethics obligated all French Sports
Federations to get involved in the fight against sexual violence in sports by:
- adopting the system proposed by the Ministry of Sports;
- supplementing the system by taking further steps or more discipline-specific actions.
Some federations tried to propose the establishment of rules of good practice for athletes,
coaches, supervisors, leaders, parents, etc. However, these federations remain very rare.
In 2008 the, French Ministry of Sports suggested that all sports facilities had to organize a
prevention day once a year. In 2008 and 2009, these days have been put in place but with
strong difficulties and the sports institutions’ resistance. Since 2010, it seems that only a few
structures remain interested in this topic. The number of actions in this area quickly became
nonexistent.
All campaigns and prevention programs of sexual harassment and abuse in sports in France
have focused on the athletes’ population. Therefore the general public still is very poorly
informed about this phenomenon. Consequently, the athlete’s supporting team and parents are
often uninformed or ignorant about sexual harassment and abuse in sports.
Since the introduction of prevention programs in 2007, no action was done to assess the
effectiveness of this program (despite the recommendations contained in the report of the
national survey). Such an assessment seems essential to determine if these operations are
really effective and if it is now necessary to improve them. The activity of the working group
of the Ministry of Sports opened the way also to fight against discrimination and against
homophobia in sport.
References
Jolly, A. & Décamps, G. (2006). Les agressions sexuelles en milieu sportif: une enquête
exploratoire, Science et Motricité, 57(1), 105-121.
Décamps, G., Dominguez, N., Jolly, A. & Afflelou, S. (2011). Les violences sexuelles et leurs
répercussions psychologiques chez les sportifs. In : Décamps, G. (Ed.) Psychologie du sport et
de la santé. Bruxelles : Editions De Boeck. pp. 349-362.
Décamps, G. (2012). Prevention of sexualized violence in sports impulses for an open,
secure and sound sporting environment in Europe: the status-quo situation in France.
Frankfurt: German Sports Youth, internal unpublished report.
33
2012 forum: Breaking the cycle of child sexual abuse
Stiliani “Ani” Chroni
Historical background/context of the initiative
Since August 2011, an unusual number of youth sport
sexual harassment and abuse cases around Greece have
received media attention. These cases involved both girls
and boys as victims and covered a wide spectrum of
inappropriate behaviours exhibited by male coaches
ranging from sexual harassment to rape of multiple
minors by the same coach. The cases received coverage
that lasted for a few days and before long all incidents
had been forgotten.
Two multi-case incidents took place on the island of
Crete at the city of Rethymnon. A male athletics coach
was accused of sexually harassing two of his adolescent
female athletes. Sadly, the coach committed suicide upon
hearing the accusations. Soon after, a male basketball
coach was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct by
two of his adolescent male athletes. Upon his arrest,
some 36 40 accusations came forward from male
athletes he had worked with; these further accusations
are currently examined by the Greek courts. The city of
Rethymnon was in turmoil for over a month.
Alas, sexual and gender harassment and abuse has never
been part of the Greek public agenda, and today no laws
specific to sports are in effect for regulating the
prevention and control of sexualised violence. The
General Secretariat of Sports, which is the primary sports
stakeholder in Greece and oversees all competitive sports
for all ages and levels, has yet to adopt any measures for
combating sexual and gender harassment and abuse in
sport despite of the recent number of incidents. In 2006
an addition was made to the Labour Code to include
“sexual harassment” as an offensive act; however, this
law concerns only the labour sector (Laws 3488/2006
and 3896/2010). Any sexual harassment or abuse cases
in sport that reach the courts are adjudicated on the basis
of the Greek Penal Code. Moreover, no code of ethical
conduct for coaches and all sports personnel is in effect
in Greece. Coaches in Greece are either empiricists,
graduates of physical education and sports science
departments, or they hold certificates from coaching
clinics organised by their respective sports federation
under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Sports.
None of the five academic departments and coaching
clinics that offer sports coaching programmes of study
provides education material on coaching ethics or on
acceptable/non-acceptable forms of conduct.
Type of recommendation:
Awareness raising
Location:
Greece
Implementing body:
Rethymnon Association of
Football Clubs, Crete
Problem tackled by the
practice: Youth sport sexual
abuse cases in the area
Target group:
Open to all involved in
organised competitive sports
Year of implementation: 2012
Stakeholders: General
Secretariat of Sports, NSFs
Financial/human resources:
Funded by the Organisation
of Football Prognostics
(www.opap.gr)
Website:
http://www.epsr.gr/index.php
?id=42,562,0,0,1,0
The initiative in short:
34
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
On January 14, 2012, in response to the two multi-case incidents of inappropriate sexual
conduct exhibited by male coaches toward young male and female athletes at the city of
Rethymnon, the local Association of Football Clubs organised a forum titled Breaking the
Cycle of Child Sexual Abuse to enlighten the community on the topic.
The forum was held under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Sports
(www.sportsnet.gr) and the Hellenic Football Federation (www.epo.gr), with funding
provided by the Organisation of Football Prognostics (www.opap.gr). The forum was open to
the general public. It attracted a large audience including sports-related people, teachers and
parents.
Problem tackled/Target of the initiative
Recognising the social problem of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sport in general
(as none of the accusations concerned football) and the absence of any action taken by the
state, while taking into account the significant negative effects of the sexual harassment and
abuse cases for the victims, their families and sport in general, the forum aimed to provide
accurate information about this illegal and harmful social phenomenon and its prevention.
Content of Forum
The three presentations of the forum were delivered by psychologists practicing in the city of
Heraklion in Crete, two of them child psychologists. The three speakers informed the
audience on the following themes: (i) child abuse and how a painful reality takes place behind
closed doors; (ii) prevention of child abuse by actively listening to our children, by building a
relationship of trust with them and by recognising the signs of abuse; and (iii) the role of
parents in every developmental stage of a child’s life.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
This is the first time in Greece that the unrecognised and taboo issue of sexualised violence in
sport is being addressed in public, through a forum organised by a sports association and
funded by a federal organisation. The General Secretary of Sport, Mr. Bitsaksis, attended the
forum and in his remarks stressed that the state intends to promote safety measures to protect
children from such damaging phenomena that continue to take place under the wrongful “law
of silence”.
The General Secretary’s attendance and comments at the forum acknowledged sexual abuse
as an existing problem in the country. Moreover, by placing such an event under their
auspices, the General Secretariat of Sports and the Hellenic Football Federation provided
indirect recognition of the issue. In a country like Greece, where sensitive issues like sexual
and gender harassment and abusein sport are treated as taboos and with complete silence, it is
very important that this issue could become part of the public agenda, even for only one day,
as the General Secretary of Sport gave his full moral support to the president of the
Rethymnon Association of Football Clubs, Mr. Starakis, to organise this forum.
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
Acknowledging the phenomenon of sexualised violence and organising an awareness-raising
forum was a decisive first step toward creating harassment- and abuse-free sporting
environments in Greece. Nonetheless, the forum was a one-day event, and thus its sustainable
influence on the prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse is doubtful unless
further action is taken on the issue either locally or by the state. Today, six months later, no
35
additional initiatives have been taken and no safety measures to protect children have been
introduced by the state.
Furthermore, the forum was not specifically geared to the world of sport. Child sexual abuse
in the general society share common features with experiences in the sport setting, yet the
coach-athlete relationship is a particularly unique one and as such requires special
consideration. Coaches, athletes, parents and all sports personnel need to become attentive to
the specifics of the coach-athlete power relationship. Since sexual abuse lies at the far end of
the ‘sexual exploitation in sport continuum’, processes like ‘grooming’ ought to be explained
to all parties involved in sport. Ensuring that parents, coaches, and sports stakeholders
understand how young male and female athletes are groomed toward accepting inappropriate
forms of conduct increases the chances for recognising the signs of danger and eventually
safeguarding the athletes.
Establishing both proactive and reactive measures for safeguarding young and adult male and
female athletes from sexual and gender harassment and abuse experiences appears to be
mandatory. Coach education needs to be enriched with material on sports ethics and ethical
forms of conduct, on the power coaches have over their athletes and on the detrimental effects
that inappropriate behaviours exhibited toward the athletes may have. A code of conduct
needs to be developed and honoured by all individuals working with male and female athletes
of all ages and levels. Lastly, parental education is also imperative to help parents adequately
support their children’s participation in sporting activities.
Interestingly, since the athletics coach accused of multiple incidents of indecent behaviour
toward young male athletes was also a PE teacher at an elementary state school, the Parents’
Association of the Municipality of Rethymnon also organised a series of eight lectures under
the title Educators in Crisis Management, the first of which was held on December 22, 2011.
These lectures were provided by clinical psychologists and aimed at educating teachers and
parents and providing some tools for dealing with incident-related crises at home or at school.
The target group here were parents and teachers, and the rate of attendance was not as initially
expected. The project received no funding at all.
References
Fasting, K., Chroni, S., & Knorre, N. (in press). The experiences of sexual harassment in sport
and education among European female sports science students. Sport, Education, & Society.
Fasting, K., Chroni, S., Hervik, S.E., & Knorre, N. (2011). Sexual harassment in sport toward
females in three European countries. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46, 76-
89.
Sand, T.S., Fasting, K., Chroni, S., & Knorre, N. (2011). Coaching behavior: Any
consequences for the prevalence of sexual harassment? International Journal of Sport Science
& Coaching, 6, 229-242.
Chroni, S. & Fasting, K. (2009). Prevalence of male sexual harassment among female sport
participants in Greece. Inquiries in Physical Education & Sport, 7, 288-296.
Chroni, S., Kourtesopoulou, Α., & Kouli, Ο. (2007). Consequences of sexual harassment
experiences on female athletes and prevention in Greek sports. Inquiries in Physical
Education & Sport, 5, 283-293
36
Examples of media coverage for the forum [in Greek]:
http://www.anatolh.com/crete/rethimno/item/28893-ευαισθητοποίησε-η-ηµερίδα-της-επσ-
ρεθύµνου-κατά-της-παιδικής-κακοποίησης (2012, January 14).
http://www.rethemnos.gr/ola-etima-gia-tin-imerida-enimerosis-gia-tin-pediki-kakopiisi-tis-
eps-rethimnou/ (2012, January 9).
Links to media coverage of cases that recently attracted media attention [in Greek]. A few
other sexual and gender harassment and abuse cases that appeared in the media in the fall of
2011, their websites were soon removed.
http://dailynews24.gr/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=9805%3Asecond-gymnast-
in-rethymnon-arrested-for-pedophilia (2011, December 22) (Male athletics coach - two
female athletes, Rethymnon).
http://www.dailynews24.gr/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=9355%3Ashock-and-
awe-on-the-testimony-of-child-victims-of-cretan-basketball-coach (2011, December 5) (Male
basketball coach – multiple male athletes, Rethymnon).
http://directnews.gr/greece/6033--8-.html (2011, September 17) (Male basketball coach - one
male athlete, Rhodes).
http://www.inews.gr/199/proponitis-aselgouse-se-varos-anilikon.htm (2012, April 9) (Male
basketball coach - multiple male athletes, Athens)
37
Respect in Sport. Canada’s online programme
Montserrat Martin
Historical background/context of the initiative
When the Ben Johnson doping scandal hit the world’s
headlines at the 1988 Olympic Games, Canadians were
determined that they would never again face
international humiliation in sports. Then, in 1996, a
shameful sports case hit Canadian society again. This
time it was Sheldon Kennedy, a star of the NHL hockey
league, who came forward to denounce Graham James,
his coach, for sexual abuse. Sheldon Kennedy was
fourteen years old when he was first sexually abused by
Graham Jones; the assault kept happening every Tuesday
and Thursday for more than six years. At the time James
was a highly respected and successful ice hockey scout
and coach. In 1996 his team, the Swift Current Broncos,
had won the prestigious Memorial Cup and James had
been named Coach of the Year. However, in January
1997 James was sentenced to three and a half years in
prison and given a lifetime ban from coaching by the
Canadian Hockey Association. In March 2012, he was
tried for sexual assaults against other children and
sentenced to a further two years’ imprisonment.
It took a long time for Kennedy to speak out against
James’ sexual abuse practices. The strong macho cultural
environment of ice hockey and James’ high profile as a
winning coach were not easy to overcome. When
Kennedy broke the silence, he was not fully aware of the
national impact his voice would have in Canada. He just
wanted to start a new life and overcome the traumatic
experience. However, since then, knowing that he was
not alone as a victim of sexual abuse, he has been
travelling across Canada as a spokesperson for spreading
the message of taking an invested interest in children’s
safety. As he says about the extent of the problem, “there
is no talk that at least someone comes and shares with me
his/her experience of being sexually abused”.
One of the outcomes of Kennedy’s huge task on raising
awareness and funds to prevent children’s sexual abuse
is the Respect in sport programme. This programme is
part of a larger campaign, RespectED. Violence & Abuse
Prevention, funded by the Canadian Red Cross. Respect
in Sport was founded in 2004 by Sheldon Kennedy and
Wayne McNeil. They both insist that “the programme is
not about catching the bad guy, but rather empowering
people to be better through education”.
Type of recommendation:
Education and training
Location:
Canada
Implementing body: Respect
Group Inc
Problem tackled by the
practice:
Child protection in sport
training
Target group:
Coaches and community
activity leaders
Year of implementation: since
2004
Financial/human resources:
Sheldon Kennedy Foundation
and Canadian Red Cross
Website:
http://www.respectinsport.co
m
The initiative in short:
38
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
Respect in Sport is Canada’s only interactive online programme that targets coaches,
managers, trainers, administrators, volunteers and even parents, and indeed it is one of very
few of its kind in the world. The overall goal of this programme is raising awareness,
acquiring knowledge and giving tools to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and neglect
mainly in sport but also in any other community activity. As the founders continually repeat,
“this programme is about changing the mind sets of people, and training good people, not
about playing cops and catching bad guys”.
The programme helps to address the lack of awareness and education about this emotive and
sensitive issue. Its goals are threefold. Firstly, identifying the signs of abuse in sport and
community environments; secondly, dealing with them – how can we know? what can we do?
– and lastly, informing the people who encounter it of their legal options or obligations.
The Respect in Sport programme uses innovative instructional design techniques to provide
an internet-based training experience that is simple, to the point and captivating for the
learner. It offers full database capabilities for user access and certification and is designed to
be widely accessible for all users regardless of location or speed of the internet connection. In
contrast to traditional classroom training, Respect in Sport has all the benefits of any online
programme: it takes less than half the time, is available at the user’s convenience and gives a
consistent, up-to-date message on behalf of the host organisation.
The Respect in Sport programme for coaches and activity leaders provides in-depth
information on the subjects of bullying, abuse, harassment and neglect in a convenient, safe
and easy to comprehend manner. This interactive multi-media programme utilises audio with
synchronised visuals, animations that demonstrates negative behaviours, and presentations of
how a situation may be better handled; it also includes valuable information from subject
matter experts delivered in a clear and concise fashion, and it raises questions based on the
animated scenarios displayed.
The programme is based on four sections: introduction; primary content (mainly definitions
and examples of bullying, abuse, harassment and neglect); interactive content, which provides
animated situations in which the learner has to identify the problem; and lastly expert content
in which Sheldon Kennedy, among others, explains his experiences and the possible means of
preventing them.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
The Respect in Sport programme gives sport organisations’ stakeholders the tools to deal with
abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), emotional maltreatment, neglect, bullying and
harassment, and legal and moral responsibilities. Through education, this programme helps
retain recreation leaders, coaches, officials and volunteers by making them less vulnerable
and more confident in dealing with sensitive issues. It also helps sport organisations, staff and
volunteers to mitigate liability.
The programme is interesting because it starts with the premise that coaches and youth
organisation leaders have power over the children in their care a power that can be either
abused or used constructively. So, the programme is built around the need for coaches and
youth leaders to understand that they have this undeniable power. The question is not about
how much or how little power coaches have, but about how to use it wisely, which in most
cases means learning to use it constructively and with respect. The programme thoroughly
explores the meanings of these coaching practices and the means to achieve them.
39
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
Respect in Sport is the only online Canadian programme able to deal with sensitive issues in
sport, and as such it is a pioneering practice that needs to be evaluated in terms of its efficacy
in preventing the sexual abuse of children. However, the Respect in Sport online package is
not freely available. Respect in Sport is a commercial enterprise sold to organisations; it is
therefore available only to members of organisations that have bought a licence to access the
online programme. For instance, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association has partnered
with the Respect in Sport programme; the cost for the association to actually have access to
the contents is $30. This is in contrast to the state-funded resources freely available through
the English Child Protection in Sport Unit.
Furthermore, this programme, which is compulsory for sport coaches in some provinces of
Canada (e.g. Manitoba), may end up being no more than one more certification that the
applicant/employee needs to have in order to have access to or keep his/her position. The
challenge in this kind of practice is how to maintain sport stakeholders’ genuine interest in
these issues and make them feel that their personal input and effort to reflect on and change
possible negative coaching practices depends on them.
References
Canadian Red Cross (2010). RespectED: Violence and Abuse Prevention. Available at
http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=000294
CBC News (2012). Sex offender graham James gets 2 years in prison. Available at
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/03/19/graham-james-sentence.html
Kirby, S., Greaves, L. &Hankivsky, O. (2000). The Dome of Silence. Sexual Harassment and
abuse in sport. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing Ltd.
Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (2010). Speak Out! Respect in sport. Available at
http://www.owha.on.ca/OWHA-importantNoticeJune2010.asp
40
From research to a social change – preventing sexual
harassment in sports
Naděžda Knorre
Historical background/context of the initiative
A few years ago, the Women and Sport Committee of the
Czech Olympic Committee in cooperation with the
Czech Sport Union initiated a research project on issues
related to women in sport. The hope was that the results
of the project could serve as a basis for sport
organisations in the Czech Republic. The goal of the
project was to develop knowledge about the influence
and meaning of gender relations in the lives of female
athletes in the Czech Republic.
“What is the amount of harassment experienced by
female athletes? was one of the specific research
questions asked. The aim of this presentation is to
determine whether the project's findings have had
political and practical implications or consequences. The
results from the original study are based on 595
questionnaires distributed to elite-level athletes, athletes
at national level, and sports students. The data was
gathered where the athletes practiced and where the
students were studying. The participants represented 68
different sports disciplines and physical activities. Their
average age was 23 years. Document analyses and
interviews with the chair of the Czech women's
committee were conducted to determine whether the
results had any impact.
Based on the project results, the Women and Sport
Committee of the Czech Olympic Committee initiated
and developed the booklet “Preventing Sexual
Harassment in Sport in the Czech Republic“.
Type of recommendation:
Education and training
Location: Czech Republic
Implementing body: Czech
Olympic Committee; Ministry
of Education, Youth and
Sport
Problem tackled by the
practice: Preventing sexual
harassment in sport
Target group: Sport
organisations and schools in
the Czech Republic
Year of implementation: since
2006
Stakeholders: Coaches,
athletes, students, team
leaders, teachers
Financial/human resources:
Czech Olympic Committee
Website: www.olympic.cz
The initiative in short:
41
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
The booklet contains chapters on the following topics: Definition of sexual harassment,
Guidelines to prevent sexual harassment and abuse in sport, What is the procedure when
sexual harassment and sexual abuse occur, Abuse of children and youth from the perspective
of the Criminal Code of the Czech Republic. 5000 booklets have been distributed to all Czech
sports organisations, national sports federations, all sports clubs at regional level, and also to
all Czech schools (using the network of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport).
Content
1. Introduction
2. What is harassment?
3. Prevention and advice.
4. What to do if there is harassment?
5. Abuse of children and youth from the perspective of the Criminal Code in the Czech
Republic
6. Conclusion
Contact information and links
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
The above mentioned practice underlines the necessity to raise awareness about sexual
harassment and especially how to prevent it. Stakeholders come from different parts of sports
systems and the information presented in the booklet opens up a wide and serious discussion
about a situation which is now common in different sports sectors.
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
As just mentioned, the results of the project concerning sexual harassment experienced by
female athletes led to the publication of a booklet. In reading this, people in sport (athletes,
coaches and other support personnel) will learn about sexual harassment: what it is, how it
should be prevented and what to do if someone experiences it. The results have had
international consequences. In 2007, based on these results, the IOC developed a consensus
statement on sexual harassment, which has now been followed up by two new projects: an
Athlete/coach education programme via an interactive on-line educational tool, and an Athlete
protection model of best practice (for sports organisations). This shows that if research is
going to lead to social change, there needs to be a political will to initiate projects. It is up to
the researchers to study whether such projects have had the effects they were supposed to
have.
All sports organisations ought to take this issue seriously. They should offer comprehensive
education and training programmes on sexual harassment for athletes, coaches,
administrators, as well as encourage a political commitment to organisational and procedural
change. Such programmes still do not exist in many countries, but only such a programme can
lead to a safer environment for women and children in sport.
References
Fasting, K. & Knorre, N. (2005). Women in Sport in the Czech Republic. The Experiences of
Female Athletes. Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and Czech Olympic Committee. Oslo
& Prague.
Fasting, K. et al. (2008). Equality and diversity in Norwegian Sport. The equality and Anti-
Discrimination Ombud, Oslo.
42
A model to prevent sexual abuse in sport
Daniel Rhind
Historical background/context of the initiative
Parent and Deners (2010) note that, traditionally,
researchers into sexual abuse have focused on the family
context. As abusive relationships are often characterised
by emotional attachments with an authority figure, sport
is also a context in which sexual abuse can take place.
Research has highlighted a series of organisational,
coach-related and athlete-related risk factors for sexual
abuse in sport (Cense & Brackenridge, 2001). However,
Parent and Deners (2010) argue that there remains a clear
lack of protection measures within the youth sport
environment. Furthermore, much of the existing work
has focused on a European context, and hence prevention
measures are required in Canada.
In Quebec, there are 63 sports federations which oversee
several hundred local and regional clubs including more
than 500,000 young people and employing more than
60,000 coaches. It is also estimated that more than
600,000 people work as volunteers in the Quebec sports
system. Parent and Deners (2010) suggest that despite
this participation, more could be done to protect children
and young people from sexual abuse in sport. Indeed,
research suggests that sexual abuse is a significant issue
within youth sport in Canada (Kirby, et al., 2000).
To address this need, Parent and Deners (2010)
conducted a project designed to develop a best practice
model for preventing sexual abuse in sport. Research was
conducted in three Quebec sports federations and three
affiliated Quebec sports clubs. Document analysis was
combined with semi-structured interviews (N=27) with
federation administrators, club administrators, athletes,
coaches and parents. This afforded a comprehensive
impression of people’s experiences regarding
safeguarding within these contexts.
Type of recommendation:
Action plans and policies
Location:
Canada
Implementing body:
Sylvie Parent & Guylaine
Deners
Problem tackled by the
practice: Protecting athletes
from sexual abuse in Canada
Target group: Sports
Organisations in Canada
Year of implementation: 2010
Stakeholders: All parties
involved with sports
Financial/human resources:
Funded by the sports
organisations
Website:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
doi/10.1002/car.1135/full
The initiative in short:
43
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
Based on their analysis of the documents they studied and the 27 interviews, Parent and
Deners (2010) propose the above over-arching model to prevent sexual abuse in sport. They
highlight the need to tackle the factors which prevent the effective implementation of
safeguarding strategies. At the national level, they recommend the creation of a body to act as
a resource for sporting organisations. This body could design and provide training, conduct
awareness-raising activities and serve as a general reference point. Training is also
recommended for those working at federation and club level. Parent and Deners (2010) also
highlight the need for both external and internal barriers. External barriers relate to the
recruitment of personnel (e.g., background checks, recruitment procedures etc.). Internal
barriers should be set up within organisations to create a positive culture which prevents
sexual abuse (e.g., through policies, training and procedures).
It is argued that the adoption of this model would address the range of factors which detract
from effective implementation of prevention strategies. These include:
1. A negative view of prevention key stakeholders were found to trivialise the impact
and effectiveness of measures. There was also some concern that the measures would
lead to a perception that there must be an underlying problem;
2. Lack of leadership – abuse prevention was viewed as a low-priority issue, and this view
was reflected in the resources and personnel targeted at prevention;
3. Reactive approach it often took an actual case to make organisations realise that they
were not equipped to deal with the issue. This resulted in reactive rather than proactive
measures;
4. Little pre-employment screening it was reported that volunteers were not subjected to
any background checks prior to working with young people;
5. Lack of training for stakeholders it was observed that participants had not received
any training regarding the prevention of sexual abuse in sport;
6. Unclear interpersonal boundaries there was a lack of consensus in terms of the kinds
of behaviours which were and were not appropriate;
44
7. Ineffective policies these tended to be too complex or only relate to the employees of
the federation rather than everyone working at all levels.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
At organisational level, this approach offers a holistic view that incorporates a wide range of
relevant factors. It has also been developed within the Canadian context, and as such it affords
a different perspective from European examples. This is particularly true due to the fact that it
was developed through interviewing administrators (at federation and club level), coaches,
athletes and parents. Few studies have considered this issue from all of these different
perspectives within a single project.
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
At present the model remains at the theoretical level. There is a need to implement and
evaluate this approach to examine the extent to which it has an impact on attitudes,
knowledge and behaviours related to sexual abuse in sport.
Furthermore, the data was drawn from documents and individuals within three clubs in three
federations. The extent to which one can generalise from this small sample to other
populations is limited. The interview data is affected by the perceptions of the interviewees,
who are vulnerable to biases regarding recall and the demand characteristics of the situation.
The strategies which individuals view as having the potential to be effective may not, in
reality, have the anticipated impact. This is magnified for participants who have never dealt
with any allegations or have only been involved in a small number of cases. This means that
they have to discuss the topic on a hypothetical level and the extent to which this reflects
reality may be limited.
References
Cense M. & Brackenridge C. H. (2001). Temporal and developmental risk factors for sexual
harassment and abuse in Sport. European Physical Education Review, 7 (1), 61 – 79.
Kirby S. L., Greaves L. & Hankivsky O. (2000). The dome of silence. Sexual harassment and
abuse in sport. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing Ltd.
Kirby S.L., Demers G. & Parent S. (2008). Vulnerability/prevention: Considering the needs of
disabled and gay athletes in the context of sexual harassment and abuse. International Journal
of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 6(4): 407–426.
Parent, S. & Deners, G. (2010). Sexual abuse in sport: A model to prevent and protect
athletes. Child Abuse Review, 20, 120-133.
45
Red card against sexualised violence in sports
Bettina Rulofs
Historical background/context of the initiative
Since 1998, a network of various stakeholders in
Cologne has been running a campaign called Rote Karte
gegen sexualisierte Gewalt im Sport (red card against
sexualised violence in sports). This network developed
against the background of the first German study
tackling the problem of sexualised violence in sport that
was published in 1997 by Michael Klein & Birgit
Palzkill. The study revealed that sexual harassment and
abuse is an issue in German sports organisations, yet it
provoked a controversial discussion in the sports world,
and the authors of the study were even blamed for
dragging sports organisations through the mud.
A few people in the city of Cologne accepted the
seriousness of the situation and committed themselves to
preventing sexualised violence in sports clubs. They
founded a network under the lead management of the
local sports confederation of Cologne. Other
stakeholders at the beginning were the prevention
department of the Cologne police, a non-governmental
girls’ association (LOBBY r Mädchen e.V.), the
Cologne office for equal opportunities and a few selected
sports clubs. The mayor of Cologne assumed patronage
of the project and various famous sportsmen and women
e.g. Ulrike Nasse-Meyfarth, a former German Olympic
high jumper – joined as public spokespersons for the
project.
In 2004, the German Sport University (Dept. for Gender
Studies) joined the network and took over the scientific
consulting. In 2005, a non-governmental association
fighting sexual violence against boys (Looks e.V. - Pänz
up!) also joined the network.
In the first years, the network focused on sensitising the
public to the problem in Cologne sports clubs.
Information brochures and a poster campaign were
developed. Members of the network held presentations in
sports clubs etc.
Since 2005, the network has focused on developing and
promoting a certificate for sports clubs that engage
proactively in the prevention of sexualised violence in
sport.
Type of recommendation:
Action plans and policies
Location: Germany
Implementing body: Local
sports confederation of
Cologne
Problem tackled by the
practice: Promoting local
sports clubs in preventing
sexualized violence in sports
Target group: Sports clubs
and their members
Year of implementation:
since 1998
Stakeholders: Local sports
confederation of Cologne;
Cologne police department;
German Sport University;
Cologne Office for Equal
Opportunities; Non-
Governmental Girls’
Association; Non-
Governmental Association
fighting Sexual Violence
against Boys
Financial/human resources:
Human resources provided by
each stakeholder
Website:
www.rote-karte-koeln.de
The initiative in short:
46
Detailed description of the initiative: What problems were tackled?
Red card against sexualised violence in sports focuses on sports clubs and their members.
Sports clubs in the Cologne region can become certified members of the network if they fulfil
a specific set of prevention strategies that are prescribed by the network. The process of
certification is verified by Red card against sexualised violence in sports and includes the
following action plan for each sports club:
1. The board of a sports club invites the members of the network to provide information
about the certification process;
2. Red card against sexualised violence in sports is invited to a General Members Meeting
of the club and provides information on the project;
3. The General Members Meeting takes the decision to engage in the prevention of
sexualised violence within the sports club and to join the network by fulfilling its
guidelines for prevention;
4. The General Members Meeting takes the decision to include the following or a similar
sentence within its constitution: “Our sports club fights sexualised violence and engages
proactively in its prevention”;
5. All staff members of the sports club sign a code of ethics that is provided by the
network.
6. All staff members – including the volunteers – provide a police record check;
7. All staff members take part in a training course provided by Red card against sexualised
violence in sports;
8. The parents of young club members are invited to an information meeting that is offered
by Red card against sexualised violence in sports;
9. Professional coaches who are closely connected to the network offer a training
programme concerning self-assertion and self-defence for young club members;
10. The club develops an intervention guideline in order to handle complaints and cases of
sexualised violence.
After having progressed through all the steps of the process, the sports club becomes a
certified member of Red card against sexualised violence in sports. The club may use this
membership for its public presentation (e.g. on its website and any other public documents).
The process of implementing all prevention steps takes at least one year depending on a club’s
resources and the possibilities of the network to promote the different measures to be taken.
The Local Sports Confederation of Cologne has the lead management in seeing clubs through
the certification process. Other network stakeholders take over specific tasks, e.g.: members
of the police, the non-governmental youth workers and the German Sport University provide
presentations and training for the different stages of the process. The German Sport
University provides ongoing process evaluation and consulting for the project.
Reason for including the initiative into the catalogue: What makes it good?
The practice described here focuses on the sports club as a social system and follows the
principle that all different levels of this social system (board, staff, coaches, members,
parents,…) have to become more aware of the problem of sexualised violence and how to
prevent it. The process of implementing the ten prevention steps described above seems to
facilitate a top-down as well as bottom-up process, so that chances of sensitising club
stakeholders to the problem of gender harassment and sexual abuse within the club seem to be
quite good.
The stakeholders of Red card against sexualised violence in sports come from different
sectors of society: the voluntary sports sector, the academic community, the municipality, the
47
police, non-governmental associations. The different stakeholders supply their specific
perspectives and knowledge to the network. This multidisciplinary character is highly valued
by the sports clubs, and it also creates a very good platform for discussing and solving
questions and problems arising during the certification process. All the stakeholders are local
partners within the city of Cologne. In comparison to national organisations dealing with the
topic, e.g. the German Sport Youth, the local network has the advantage of being close to the
sports clubs and their members at the basis.
Evaluation: Limits and possibilities of the initiative
The chances and possibilities described above are accompanied by the following limitations:
The implementation of all ten preventive steps seems to be a very challenging process for
sports clubs. It took years of sensitising and discussing until the first Cologne sports club
joined the network and started to implement all the steps. The most controversial aspect of the
concept is the police record check for all staff members. Some sports clubs are not willing to
meet this requirement and thus do not consent to start the implementation process. In turn, this
resistance against the police record check led to a long and controversial discussion between
the different stakeholders of the network as to whether the police record check should be a
compulsory element of the certification process. Finally the network decided to keep it as a
necessary element of the whole process.
In the meantime, several clubs have expressed their interest in becoming members of the
project, but only a few clubs in Cologne have started the certification process. None has
finished yet, though one is on the verge of finishing. The small number of clubs is an indicator
of how challenging the whole process is. This is also due to the limited resources of Red card
against sexualised violence in sports, because most of the work is done on a voluntary basis or
only with the human resources the different stakeholders can provide for the network.
References
Klein, M. & Palzkill, B. (1998). Gewalt gegen Mädchen und Frauen im Sport (Pilotstudie im
Auftrag des Ministeriums für Frauen, Jugend, Familie und Gesundheit des Landes Nordrhein-
Westfalen. [Violence against girls and women. Pilot study for the North Rhine Westphalian
Ministry of Women, Youth, Family and Health]. Dokumente und Berichte, Band 46.
Düsseldorf: Ministerium für Frauen, Jugend, Familie und Gesundheit des Landes Nordrhein-
Westfalen.
48
Police check for those working with minors and the
mentally disabled in sports clubs
Kari Fasting
Historical background/context of the initiative
“An open and inclusive sport” is the aim of the sports
policy of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic
Committee and the Confederation of Sports (NIF). A
condition for achieving this aim is that children,
adolescents and adults should feel safe in their sports
environment. This can be served by the goal “to develop
tolerance, understanding and to establish recognition of
people’s equality in order to avoid discrimination,
harassment and bullying” (NIF 2007). At the General
Assembly of Sport in 2007, a motion was passed calling
for zero tolerance for discrimination and harassment
irrespective of gender, ethnic background, religious faith,
sexual orientation and disability. Zero tolerance implies
that sexual harassment and sexual abuse must not take
place. It therefore became important to work toward
establishing sound sports environments, be they at the
level of a club, a district or an association.
Research and criminal court cases over the last years
have shown that it is necessary to monitor adults who
work in sports clubs and have relationships of trust and
responsibility with children and persons with mental
disabilities. In accordance with the regulation on penalty
registration (§12, No4), the NIF board decided “that all
sports clubs from and including January 1, 2009 are
obliged to procure a police certificate of good conduct
for persons who are to carry out tasks for the club that
entail a relationship of trust and responsibility in relation
to minors or persons with mental disability” (NIF, 2008).
This police certificate contains information about
whether a person has ever been charged with or
convicted of violations of certain provisions of the Penal
Code on sexual offenses. Chapter 10 of the Penal Code
applies to anyone