This year's topic

Sexual abuse does happen in sports and children find it hard to speak out. For this reason, the Council of Europe proposes to its partners that the 2018 edition of the European Day on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse should focus on the specific theme of “The protection of children against sexual abuse in sport”. All types of activities around this theme are welcome in order to encourage interaction, in particular, between children and parents, educators, sports clubs, associations and federations, athletes and coaches, and other professionals.

Discover the infographic page "Sexual abuse of children in sport" >> >>

Link to the infographic page "Sexual abuse of children in sport"

The Council of Europe has launched its "Start to talk" call for action to public authorities and the sport movement to stop child sexual abuse. By joining this call, governments, sports clubs, associations and federations, as well as athletes and coaches, pledge to take concrete measures to prevent and respond to abuse. The “Start to talk” initiative is about adults breaking the silence and lending children a voice.


Our tools

Through its Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), the Council of Europe offers its partners a set of tools which are promoted in the context of the “Start to Talk” initiative:

These tools exist in different languages. Partners are invited to adapt them in their national language after having contacted us.

Our leaflets

Dowload the general leaflet (PDF) on the “European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse” 

Dowload the thematic leaflet (PDF) on “The protection of children against sexual abuse in sport”

Share your activities and initiatives!

If you are organising an event, do let us know
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Member States

Joint statement issued by 5 member states (Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and Slovenia) and supported by 37 others





The Ministry of Social Affairs, Justice and the Interior organised on 8 October 2018 the conference "Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children in Sport", in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports which was held on 8 October 2018, in the presence of the Minister of Social Affairs, Justice and the Interior, Mr Xavier Espot Zamora.

Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment, Ester Fenoll, and Secretary of State for Sport, Mr Jordi Beal, explained at the opening of the event that more actions will be taken both at the legislative level and in the field of training. The various sports clubs present asked to organise other working sessions and to create a specific protocol.

The conference was given by Mr Francisco Javier Romeo Biedma, psychologist expert in sexual abuse, Ms Laëtitia Pachoud, representative of the association "Colosse aux pieds d’argile" and Ms Pilar Polo Polo, psychologist and responsible for relations institutions of the Vicki Bernadet Foundation.

The video Start to talk was subtitled in Catalan on the occasion of this conference.


The Federal Ministry for the Civil Service and Sports dubbed the Start to Talk video in German.


The Federal Public Service for Justice organised a round table on 16 November 2018 bringing together adults who have been sexually abused and/or exploited during their childhood, magistrates and police officers specialised in sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as associations or practitioners dealing with the subject. The experiences of victims and the approach to sexual violence against children were at the centre of the discussions. To know what can be improved, it is essential that policy makers and experts listen to the experiences of victims. During the round table, various participants had the opportunity to speak and to give some recommendations for improving the approach by the justice department in tackling this sensitive topic.


19 November, 7.30 pm: Film “Les Chatouilles” and debate at UGC Screening of the film “Les Chatouilles” (in French) by Andréa Bescon and Eric Métayer, with Karin Viard and Clovis Cornillac on Monday 19 November 2018, at 7:30pm, at UGC Ciné Cité Strasbourg-Etoile. The film is followed by a debate organised by the Council of Europe together with the Strasbourg University Hospital (CHU) (in cooperation with the UGC Ciné Cité Strasbourg-Etoile): "Sexual violence against children: prevention, detection, impact, support and medical care of victims".



Network conference of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth: A dialogue between practice and research on sexualized violence against children and youth, 19 and 20 November 2018, Venue: Umweltforum Berlin.

How can a transfer from research to frontline practitioners succeed? What are the cornerstones of participatory research? What is the youth perspective regarding sexual violence prevention measures? These and many more questions are on the agenda of the 2018 conference, bringing together practitioners and leading researchers. A youth delegation is presenting conclusions on both days in form of a self-produced video.

Dr. Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth is opening the conference and an art exhibition of a survivors collective is on show.

The German Olympic Sport Federation (DOSB) and the German Sport Youth (DSJ) are organising a conference “Safe Sport – Prevention of sexual violence in sport” on 16 November 2018, in Berlin.

It is the ninth conference to be held since the intensification of work on preventing sexual abuse in sport in 2010. Participants include the member organisations of DOSB and DSJ, more particularly their officers responsible for child protection, and commissioners on women in sport and on education in sport. This year’s main topic of the conference is: how to implement prevention measures in sport organisations in order to achieve real change. In connection with the conference, the DOSB award for gender equality will be given to people or institutions who or which are involved in creating a culture without violence and discrimination – in particular sexual harassment – in sport.


Screening of the short film “Sing” (Mindenki) on the occasion of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse on Thursday, 22 November 2018 at 18:30 in the projection room of the Council of Europe. Opening speech by Ms Gabriella Battaini Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe and Ambassador Ágnes Kertész, Permanent representative of Hungary to the Council of Europe.


Basketball match Estudiantes-Barca Lassa

The “Start to Talk” TV spot was screened several times on the occasion of the basketball match Estudiantes-Barca Lassa on 18 November 2018 in Madrid. This high profile match was used to raise awareness on the measures that can be taken to prevent child sexual abuse in sport, with the players carrying the campaign hashtag (#absofueradejuego) on their jerseys. Over 10.000 spectators received bookmarks with 10 key messages. Both clubs are committed to continue supporting this cause.

Video statement

Ms Dolores Delgado, Minister of Justice and Ms María Jose Rienda, President of the Superior Council for Sport, delivered a video statement, followed by the short version of the “Start to talk” video. The President of the Government, Mr Pedro Sánchez, used his twitter account to share the Start to Talk video and key messages and to confirm his government’s commitment to protect children.


On the occasion of its 2018 Congress, the Spanish federation of associations for the prevention of ill-treatment in childhood (FAPMI), organised a round table devoted to the commemoration of the European Day. Focusing on the prevention of child sexual abuse in sport, the round table included a presentation of the “Start to Talk” campaign and a conversation with Olympian vice-champion Antonio Peñalver and Olympian athlete Gloria Viseras. Both shared their experiences and made important recommendations to better prevent and respond to child abuse in sport.

Other partners

Making the voices of children heard at Europol’s 1st European Youth Day

As a follow-up of its Say No! campaign, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) will launch on 20 November a new initiative: The European Youth Day. This event will bring together in The Hague (the Netherlands) Europol experts and some 100 youth advocates aged between 12 - 15 years old under the topic “Digital Rights of Children Against Violence”, offering a unique platform for youth to make their voices heard on online and offline safety matters which affect them directly. The session will include the screening of the Slovenian film Gaja’s World, followed by an open floor discussion with all the participants. As a result, a call for action will be released which will be further disseminated across the European countries and institutions in order to amplify the voice of youth.

Council of Europe

Lanzarote Committee

Mr George Nikolaidis, Chairperson of the Lanzarote Committee

Today, as every year, is a day of awareness and memory of the millions of children that are subjected to sexual victimisation throughout Europe and globally. We know that one in five children will suffer such a traumatic experience during their childhood, mainly by someone in their circle of trust: parent, relative, caregiver, someone having contact with the child in education, health, sports, leisure activities, residential care or detention facilities, faith-based institutions or information and communication technologies. However, today is not just a day to remember this; it is also a day to raise awareness of the fact that currently there are effective social policies that can provide sufficient protection to children if they are applied systematically, especially those in the most vulnerable population groups. Thus, it is mostly a day to remind societies that they need to rank effective child protection high on their list of priorities and mobilise ressources to protect their most valuable asset: their future social capital, their children’s well-being.