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:

a training kit for sport professionals and volunteers

a postcard

a brochure

an online resource centre to promote existing practices and give concrete advice

a video clip (long version) and a TV spot


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

Member States

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





Federal Public Service for Justice

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.


Federal Public Service for Justice

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.

Child Focus

Child Focus, the Foundation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children, has launched on the occasion of the European Day a new campaign to raise public awareness about the problem of child pornography and the importance of reporting child pornography images or any other material of this kind. Three videos with catchy titles have been uploaded: “Sweet 3 year old getting wet”, “Cute toddler likes to suck” and “7 year old blowing hard”.


The Ruka association for support to pedophilia victims and their families organised on 23 November 2018 a forum "Our Children Our Future" in Rijeka during which the situation in Croatia was debated. The association proposed a program to be implemented in educational institutions and institutions working with children, as a way to prevent sexual violence. Education would primarily concern children, but also educators, teachers, professors, professionals, and especially parents and all those who are in contact with children. The program is based on the guidelines of the Council of Europe and the Council of Europe's Strategy on the Rights of the Child. The Council of Europe spot “The Lake” was screened to participants as well as the video “Kiko and the hand”.

Facebook page of the Ruka association


The Commissioner for Children’s Rights Office in Cyprus translated and dubbed the Start to Talk video in Greek. The video was broadcasted mid-November 2018 on major TV channels of Cyprus. In addition, the video was screened in the main cinemas of the country from 30 November to 9 December 2018.


The “Start to Talk” video will be screened in cinemas in Estonia from 16 November to 2 December 2018 during the Black Nights Film Festival, the children and youth film festival Just Film and before the screening of the films of the child rights’ programme.


Film "Les Chatouilles" and debate

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".

Directorate of Judicial Protection of Youth (DPJJ) and French Federation of Resource Centers for Intervenants to Authors of Sexual Violence (FFCRIAVS)

The Directorate for the Judicial Protection of Youth (DPJJ) and the French Federation of Resource Centers for workers intervening with perpetrators of sexual violence (FFCRIAVS) pass a multi-year agreement 2018/2020 which targets the following three main axes: specifically developed training for the benefit of the professionals of the Judicial Protection of Youth; team coaching or supervision for professionals involved in caring for child victims or perpetrators of sexual offenses; provision of documentary resources.


The Start to Talk video was dubbed in Georgian in the context of the Council of Europe project “Responding to child sexual exploitation and abuse in Georgia, phase 1”, implemented by the Children’s Rights Division within the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia (2016-2019).



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.


The Smile of the Child

"The Smile of the Child" organised Press Conferences and awareness raising meetings all across the country on the occasion of the 18th of November, European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. Meetings were held in various cities emphasising the scourge of sexual abuse of children, and more particularly, the child sexual abuse in sports and the need to break the silence.

 Link to the press release

ONE in FIVE campaign

The 4th edition of the European Day was the occasion to hold a number of awareness raising activities in November.



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.


Department for Family Policies of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers

The Department for Family Policies of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers has organised a conference on 20 November 2018 in Rome. The event, entitled "Cyberbullying and the collaboration between families and institutions for the prevention and protection of involved children", focused on the protection of the rights of children and adolescents in Italy and the initiatives that should be undertaken by institutions to implement art. 31 of the Italian Constitution specifically referring to the protection of children and youth. On that occasion, the Italian Minister of Family and Disabilities, Mr. Lorenzo Fontana, and the Minister for Education, University and Research, Mr. Marco Bussetti, signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at promoting activities to combat all forms of violence and bullying both online and in schools, in order to raise awareness about the existing legal culture on the topic and eradicate all forms of intolerance.

In particular, this year the main discussed topic was the relationship between families and institutions for the prevention of cyberbullying. During the meeting, Minister Fontana announced the launch of a new campaign to raise awareness on this issue in view of the next Safer Internet Day (5 February 2019).

 For more information

Autorità garante per l'infanzia e l'adolescenza

The Authority for children and adolescents (la Autorità garante per l'infanzia e l'adolescenza) translated into Italian the “Start to Talk” campaign Brochure and added subtitles to the video.


Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth and ECPAT-Luxembourg

The Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth and ECPAT-Luxembourg organised on Monday 19 November 2018 a round table for the general public and a study day for professionals in the education sector entitled "Ass mäi Kand dry um Internet?" (How to protect children from the dangers of using the internet?).

 Link to the dedicated page of the Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth

Link to the ECPAT-Luxembourg website


Office of the Commissioner for Children

“(…) An increase in reports, regarding sexual abuse occurring within sports settings, has been noted.

The Office of the Commissioner for Children would like to stress the importance for Sports organisations to implement Child Protection Policies within their structures and to take all the necessary measures in order to prevent such abuse and to offer protection for Children. Such policies should also outline the procedures to be followed if a child discloses to an adult such as coach/trainer or parent that he/she has been a victim of some form of abuse.

Children should, from an early age, be taught about what kind of behaviour can lead to abuse. Over the next few days the Office will be distributing a copy of Kiko and the Hand, a Council of Europe publication, to all children in Kinder 1. (…)

Whoever is aware of any abuse being perpetrated against children, should report it. This can be done by calling supportline 179.”

 Link to the full text of the Office of the Commissioner for Children’s statement

 Link to Kiko and the Hand


Council of Europe office in Chisinau

The Council of Europe office in Chisinau relayed the Council of Europe press release published on the occasion of the 2018 edition of the European Day on its website, in both Romanian and English.

The Council of Europe Office in Chisinau relayed the Council of Europe press release published on the occasion of the 2018 edition of the European Day on its website, in both Romanian and English.


Portugal’s "Start to Talk" campaign was being launched on 22 November 2018 at the National Sports Museum, as a joint celebration of the European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (18 November 2018). The event was promoted by the Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, and organised by the Portuguese Institute for Youth and Sports in partnership with the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and Protection of Children and Youth and the Portuguese Confederation of Coaches Associations.

 More information and links to documents in Portuguese


Centrul de Resurse Offa (Offa Resource Center)

The Offa Resource Center (Centrul de Resurse Offa) organised a one day workshop for teachers in Onisifor Ghibu High School in Cluj-Napoca on 3 December 2018 “18 things about children safety”.

Trainers held a child safety workshop for teachers aiming to raise their awareness on child sex abuse and of their important role in identifying and reporting child sex abuse. Teachers attending the workshop also learned how to teach children to keep themselves safe from sexual harm.


Several operations were conducted on the occasion of the European Day:

- Distribution of a press release to raise awareness in the general public;

- All teachers in San Marino, at all levels (from primary school to high school), have received specific training on the detection of signs of violence against children, including sexual violence, during the week of 19 November 2018. The training was provided by the juvenile protection service in collaboration with a specialised and highly experienced Italian organization: the CISMAI, Italian coordination of services against child abuse.

- The two videos "Kiko and the hand" and "Tell someone you trust" were broadcast on RTV San Marino national television channel.

- The association "Anime senza voce” (Souls without a voice) organised at the end of September 2018 an exhibition of works by 60 contemporary artists to raise public awareness of sexual abuse of children. The exhibition ended with a charity lottery of works of art to collect funds for the association.


The National coordination centre for resolving the issues of violence against children (ministry of Labour, Social affairs and Family) officially launched on 18 November 2018 the new campaign “It does concern me” and a TV spot distributed on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and on the official website of the Centre as well as on the state television and radio and via commercial TVs and radio channels.

The TV spot will be complemented by printed materials (Posters, roll-ups and promotional items) to be used for purposes of conferences, discussions and other events related to the problematic of violence against children and need of their protection - at national as well as regional levels.

The campaign is aimed at raising the awareness of the public (adults as well as children above 12) to the problematic of violence against children, specifically by reflecting on the importance to pay attention on what is happening around us - to pay attention to children and listen to those who are trying to tell something. The campaign emphasises the fact that violence does not only concern its victims but all of us - parents, siblings, friends, unknown passerby. The campaign is therefore more a “call for action” than standard information campaign.


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



“Today on #EndChildSexAbuseDay, and on any other day, in every country, children are sexually exploited. It happens online, by human traffickers, through prostitution, by travelers and tourists, and through early and forced marriages. But everyone can help end the sexual exploitation of children. Don't look away. Always report anything suspicious you see:

 See ECPAT Facebook account


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.

INHOPE - International Association of Internet Hotlines

“In 2017, INHOPE’s network of Hotlines identified 259,016 images and videos of online child sexual abuse material (CSAM). These alarming numbers call for increased collaboration between governments, civil society organisations, law enforcement and internet service providers to tackle this crime.

On this day, we mark the need for increased collaboration for faster removal of online CSAM and rapid identification of victims. #endchildsexabuseday

 See INHOPE Facebook account

 See INHOPE’s website

Council of Europe

Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Governments and sports organisations must redouble their efforts to break the silence surrounding sexual abuse of children in sports, prevent it and fight impunity. Safeguarding children from sexual abuse in sport is a major challenge. All of those involved – parents, coaches, athletes and governing bodies – must be alert to the dangers and help to protect children in sport.

 Press release

Parliamentary Assembly

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe organised the event “blow the whistle” to end child sexual abuse in sports on 19 November 2018 on the forecourt of the Palais de l’Europe. Ms Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, and Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, expressed their support for this cause. Whistles were distributed to the participants to symbolise the stop to be given to this type of violence.

Speech by Ms Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (in French)

 Speech by Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Committee of Ministers

The Ministers’ Deputies listened to the testimony given by Ms Gloria Viseras, former elite gymnast, victim of child sexual abuse in sport and, today, activist for safe sport. This testimony and ensuing exchange occurred during the 1329th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies on 14 November 2018.

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.