This study provides an overview of the legal and policy frameworks, describes initiatives promoted by sport and civil society organisations, identifies best practice in combatting gender-based violence in sport and makes recommendations for future action.
Due to a lack of studies and methodological difficulties, reliable prevalence and incidence data on (forms of) gender-based violence in sport are strikingly absent across the EU and internationally. The terminology used to refer to forms of gender-based violence varies greatly across the EU, and there remains a lack of clarity in legal texts. The policy frameworks of fewer than half of all EU Member States make explicit reference to forms of gender-based violence in sport.
Various approaches to prevent gender-based violence in sport were identified. Most initiatives target sports organisations (including federations, associations, and clubs) and coaches. These were mostly carried out on an ad-hoc basis.
A holistic approach to fight gender-based violence in sport is needed that considers: an assessment of the magnitude of the problem; prevention initiatives; comprehensive legal, policy and disciplinary provisions to prosecute and punish perpetrators and to protect athletes from gender-based violence; provision of services for those subjected to acts of gender-based violence; and multi-level, multi-disciplinary and multi-actor partnerships.
The focus of the study was on the coach-athlete relationship, the entourage of the sportathlete relationship (e.g. managers, officials, doctors, physiotherapists) and the peer athlete-athlete relationship. This study considered both female and male victims, and female and male perpetrators. Special attention was also devoted to children and youth, because young athletes (girls and boys) have specific rights and needs and may well be victims of gender-based violence. The study explicitly included violence against LGBTQI4 persons. The study did not exclude any sport discipline, and covered both elite/professional and grassroots sports.