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Start To Talk: call to action launched

Madrid, Spain 05 april 2018
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“Start to Talk” is a Council of Europe call to action to public authorities and the sport movement to take the necessary prevention and protection measures 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. “Start to Talk” is about adults breaking the silence and lending children a voice. The international launch will take place in Madrid on 5 April.  On the same occasion, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, through its High Council of Sport, is launching its national campaign “#abusofueradejuego” (keep abuse offside), which also aims at raising the awareness of children, their families and coaches on the problem and empowering them so that they can be part of the solution.

The “Start to Talk” initiative is being launched by the Council of Europe as a follow-up to the two successful Pro Safe Sport projects in 2014 and 2017 (co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, and run by EPAS). The goal is to attract interest from member states and sports organisations, so that they can develop strategies, launch their own campaigns, improve legislation, raise awareness with parents and train sports coaches, etc. on the issue of child protection in sport.  The materials available were developed as part of the joint projects, but « Start to Talk » gives us the opportunity to ensure these tools can be used beyond the end of the projects themselves.

The launch in Madrid on 5 April will include a discussion between experts and representatives from institutions and the sport movement. Mr Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, Minister of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain, and Ms Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy of the Council of Europe are among the key speakers at the event.

Press release


Materials available

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EPAS aims to promote the development of any sport whose benefits are wide-reaching. It develops policies and standards, monitors them and helps with capacity-building and the exchange of good practices.

Different recommendations initially prepared by EPAS have been adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on issues of sports ethics, the autonomy of the sports movement, and the protection of young athletes from dangers associated with migration. Older recommendations such as the European Sports Charter are regularly monitored via consultative visits in member states. The Recommendation on Gender mainstreaming in sport is the most recent and was adopted on 21 January 2015. Work is currently underway to revise an old recommendation on “free fighting contests, such as cage fighting”.