VOICEs speak out loud
Erasmus+ Sport co-financed VOICE project concludes in June after running for 2,5 years. The initiative aimed at combating sexual violence in European sport. Its final conference took place on 4-5 May 2018 in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. ENGSO President, Carlos Cardoso and ENGSO Youth Committee member, Gerda Katschinka were present at the event.
The project was led by the German Sport University Cologne, and it involved seven research partners and four sports organisation partners from Europe. ENGSO Youth plays an important role in the project as a disseminating and counselling partner.
“Your voice. Your life. Your truth.”
This statement of Karen Leach, an ambassador of the project, was a core premise for the work of the whole consortium.
The VOICE research team succeeded in taking 72 in-depth interviews with people who have been affected by sexual violence in sport. By listening to and acknowledging the voices of those that have been affected by sexual harassment and abuse, crucial research data was generated on sexual violence in European sport.
The voices of former victims were used as a basis of powerful knowledge-exchange and educational resources enhancing the European sports community to combat sexual violence and strengthen integrity in sport. The educational materials consisting of videos spoken by the voices of those affected accompanied by manuals are now ready to be widely used by the European sports community. Now sports organisations on all levels - from elite to grassroots sport, from umbrella organisations to local sport clubs - are not only asked to listen, but to acknowledge and to take concrete actions in their own structures.
The final conference presented the results of the research and also the educational resources, in the presence of representatives of the European Commission, scientific, educational and sport organisations.
Gerda Katschinka, coordinating the project for ENGSO Youth, believes that the initiative was a great step forward in combatting sexual violence in sport:
"This project can only be seen as the beginning of a journey and there is still a long way to go. And this journey cannot be made alone - the network which resulted from the project is invaluable for the continuation of activities in the field of prevention which will continue to guarantee sustainability of the gained knowledge. We have to do everything possible for children in sports to be safe and to be protected when doing what they love most. Every single effort taken will be worth it."
Participants of the final conference. From left: ENGSO President, Carlos Cardoso, Head of Sport Unit at the European Commission, Yves Le Losteque, EUSA Communication and Project Manager, Andrej Pišl, ENGSO Youth Committee member, Gerda Katscinka