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Start To Talk Logo : starttotalk.org

Are you a public figure?

Do you have a role in overseeing sports?

Do you run a sports club, an association,

a federation?

Are you a coach, an athlete?

Do your children practice sports?

Do you care about children


and their rights?

It’s time to stop child sexual abuse in sport


It’s hard for children to talk

Adults must break the silence!

Start To Talk Logo : starttotalk.org

1 in 5



About one in five children in Europe are victims of some form of sexual violence

This includes sexual touching, rape, sexual harassment, grooming, exhibitionism, exploitation in prostitution and pornography, online sexual extortion and coercion…

Sexual abuse often leaves scars for life



Between 70% and 85% of children know their abuser

The vast majority of children are victims of people they trust


In sport, children can be at risk because:

a high tolerance of physical violence and injuries

authoritarian leadership and unequal power relationships between coaches and athletes

scandal avoidance: incidents are silenced

male-dominated gender ratio

physical contact is often required

reward structures

inappropriate sexual behaviour is often tolerated, discrimination and gender inequality accepted

potential risk situations: changing rooms, showers, carpooling, overnight stays


It’s hard for children to talk


About 1/3 of abused children never tell anyone

Some children are not able to recognise the abuse: very young children, children with disabilities

Fear of not being believed or fear of consequences: reprisals and possible impact on family, the career, the reputation

Shame and guilt

Children do not know whom to tell

Athletes are supposed to be strong, vulnerability is considered a weakness

Confusion : some children believe being in a true "relationship"


Adults must break the silence

Sport can become an empowering and protective environment for children

It is up to adults to prevent abuse, protect children and help to fight impunity


Silence breakers

These are athletes, coaches, clubs, federations, political figures and opinion leaders who COMMIT to take concrete MEASURES to stop sexual abuse of children in sport

Do you want to be a silence breaker?

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Creating a safe playing environment for children is integral to our social responsibility objectives.

The tools and materials developed by the Council of Europe as part of its Start to Talk initiative are extremely valuable and will certainly complement our own measures.

We are committed to cooperate with the Council of Europe to further strengthen the protection of children in sport, particularly in football.

Fifa Logo

FIFA would like to express its support for the “Start to talk” initiative of the Council of Europe Agreement on Sport (EPAS).

FIFA has a statutory commitment, elaborated in its human rights policy, to respecting all internationally recognised human rights. It is in the process of expanding its policy framework in order to address precisely the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Through concrete actions and cooperation in policy formulation between the Council of Europe and FIFA, we look forward to benefiting from each other’s experience and expertise in order to create a safer environment for the youngest and most vulnerable members of our communities.

We can help


Council of Europe Logo Council of Europe - End Child Sex Abuse Campaign Logo

The Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse details the measures that must be taken

It protects children in 43 European states

To stop child abuse in sport,
the Council of Europe helps to:

Improve legislations and policies

Set up child safeguarding strategies for sports structures, activities and events

Develop codes of conduct

Train sports professionals: coaches, sports managers and policy makers

Empower parents

Empower children


To know more


There are many Council of Europe tools available to help you:

Pro Safe Sport

A project in cooperation with the European Union to protect children in sport

Building a Europe for and with Children

Our work to protect children’s rights and eliminate violence against children

Contact us

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