Empowering young Europeans in sport for a culture of respect and integrity — against sexualised violence and gender harassment

Sport respects your rights – The project

Sport respects your rights was a transnational project, developed to fight abuse and gender-based violence in the youth sport sector. The project ran for 24 months. It was funded in the priority area Empowerment work at grassroots level as the only sports project in the Daphne III Programme 2011/2012 of the European Union. It built on the network and exchange of good practice initiated through the EU project Better, Safer, Stronger – Prevention of sexual and gender harassment and abuse in sports (Project Lead: German Sports Youth).

Sport respects your rights supported Europeans aged 16 to 22 to develop self-confident behaviour against sexualised violence and harassment in sports. Young sportswomen and sportsmen were given the platform to develop their own youth-led campaigns through which they raised awareness amongst peers, in their sport environment and beyond.

This participatory process allowed the young people to become powerful multipliers and active agents of social change in their settings. Parallel to the educational youth work, each project partner developed a multi-sector network in order to create long-lasting synergies to fight violence and harassment in sport.

Based on two processes

Eight organisations from six European countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Poland and the Netherlands) implemented Sport respects your rights within their settings. The access to young Europeans in sport varied between the different organisations which were from the sport-for-all, fitness and amateur, University, special and professional sports sectors, or worked with youth groups through socio-cultural communities and an NGO. The implementation within each partner organisation was based on two main processes:


Structure of “Sport respects your rights” in the setting of the implementing partner organisations.

Structure of “Sport respects your rights” in the setting of the implementing partner organisations.


1. Bottom-up process: the education of multipliers and the creation of youth-led campaigns

A project coordinator from each partner organisation and two local actors from each participating local sport club or youth group (for example a board member and a youth coach) were educated through two European Trainings to work with the youth sectors in their respective sport settings. Through local youth workshops each partner created youth-led campaigns – developed by youth for youth.

This participatory process aimed at both ownership of the project and identification with its aims through the active involvement of the target group. The focus was laid on raising awareness, installing and developing self-esteem, communicational skills, reflective and assertive behaviour and a general culture of respect in sport settings. Sport respects your rights focused on the capacity of multipliers and young Europeans at grass roots sport level to reflect, act and protect themselves against sexual abuse, violence and gender harassment.

The young people who created the campaigns sensitised further peers and intermediaries in their settings to build a culture of respect and integrity in and through sport.

2. Top-down process: building cross-sector networks to support the sport sector

Simultaneously, the partner organisations initiated national, regional or local multidisciplinary networks (“Round Tables”) involving diverse and relevant stakeholders from society. These aimed to find synergies and build supportive structures for the sport sector regarding the topic, adress national and regional strategies to move the agenda forward and provide a platform for the dissemination of the youth-led campaigns. The Round Tables also investigated possibilities to keep the created network alive after the European funding had ceased.

Throughout the project, mentoring advice was available for the partner organisations and the participating local clubs.

Planned scope of the project

Direct education and sensitisation of the target group and intermediaries in the participating organisations was devised through a multi-tier process. The aim was to encourage a self-perpetuating, multiplying effect in the sport sector through empowering the target group, 16 to 22 year old Europeans.


The planned scope of “Sport respects your rights”.

The planned scope of “Sport respects your rights”.


The actual scope of Sport respects your rights, reached within the European network during the project implementation between April 2013 and February 2015, can be seen under “Summary and prospects of the project”.

The network of Sport respects your rights

The project network encompassed 10 European sport- and socio-cultural organisations and Universities with a wide geographic scope and with varying structural, national or organisational set-ups. Testing the project in diverse European settings gave insights about the acceptance and results of this models strategy and enabled valuable recommendations about the possible applicability and adaptability in further EU communities.

Steering Group:

  • Sportunion Austria (Lead Partner)
  • German Sport University of Cologne, Institute of Sociology and Gender Studies (in charge of training, coaching, monitor- ing and evaluating)
  • Engso Youth (coordinated this transnational cooperation)

Partner organisations implementing the project:

  • Edge Hill University | UK
  • Italian Aerobic and Fitness Federation
  • Campaign Against Homophobia | PL
  • NOC*NSF | Dutch Olympic Committee * Dutch Sports Federation
  • DJK Sports Youth | DE
  • German Sports Youth
  • Austrian Athletics Federation
  • SportUnion Austria

Council of Europe in supporting function:

The project logo

Sport respects your rights project logo in three colour variants.

Sport respects your rights project logo in three colour variants.

This project is funded by the DAPHNE III Programme of the European Union which aims to prevent and combat all forms of violence and protect victims and groups at risk.

In Greek mythology, Daphne was a nymph who transformed into a laurel tree as a measure of self-defense against an im- portunate admirer. The laurel wreath in the logo of Sport respects your rights was given a double function; it is not only meant to be a symbol of athletic success and honour, but also a protective shield for someone’s own personal sphere.


Agnes Kainz, Sportunion Österreich