“Children and young people should be able to take part in sports without the risk of suffering any kind of abuse.”
The Swedish Sports Confederation

The Swedish Sports Guidelines are clear: Sports for children and young people must have the rights of children at their heart and all sports must comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Barnens Spelregler

Table of contents:

Safe sport for everyone 

Nearly 90% of all Swedish children will, at some point in their youth, have contact with a sports club/association and this contact provides a positive opportunity for children to engage in fun and meaningful physical activity.

Children and young people have the right to safe sport that provides community, security and enjoyment. The sporting community, together with the adults involved, has a responsibility to ensure this happens.

Harassment and abuse can feel foreign and distant. But, unfortunately, they do occur. Harassment or abuse can take place between adults and children or between children and other children or young people. Abuse or harassment can be planned or happen spontaneously. They can amount to a crime or something as mundane as an unpleasant comment. Regardless of their severity, it is important to understand that they happen, and that through raising our own awareness they can be better prevented. It is important that we see, understand and support children and young people who are being affected by, or are at risk of being affected by, harassment and abuse.

Advice on creating safe sporting environments for children and young people (PDF) provides a good guide for your safeguarding work. Skapa trygga idrottsmiljöer för barn och ungdomar (PDF).

Central registry check: Unfortunately, there are people who have a tendency to commit sexual harassment and / or sexual abuse. There are also signs that these people seek out activities and situations – such as sports – where they can make contact with children and young people.

The law on vetting of people who work with children means that a sports club/association has the right to ask an individual for a limited extract from the tax register, if they are offered employment, a task, or an internship within a club/association – if such work involves regular and direct contact with children up to the age of 18.

The Swedish Sports Association also has two policies relating to this topic that can be used as a guide:

Policy and action plan against sexual harassment in sport (swedish). (PDF)
Policy and guidance on sexual abuse in sport (swedish). (PDF)

For further support in your work to prevent abuse and harassment, you can benefit from contacting the SISU’s sports education service. They have the experience, tools and methods to support and enhance your club/association’s efforts. You can find contact details for your nearest district here.

SISU idrottsutbildarna.

BRIS

BRIS is a children’s rights organisation. BRIS is a member of CHI (Child Helpline International). BRIS work to strengthen children’s rights by supporting and engaging society and making children’s voices heard.

BRIS – helpline for children

Call 116 111.

Free and anonymous for people under the age of 18.

Adult helpline for concerns about children

077-150 50 50: Weekdays 9-12.

You can call the adult helpline if you want to discuss any worries or concerns you have regarding your own, or someone else’s child, as long as this child is under 18. Your call will be taken by experienced counsellors. The conversation can cover everything from serious situations to everyday dilemmas. The purpose of the conversation is that you, the adult, can receive support, guidance and information about how you can help improve a child’s situation. It should be noted that we, of course, have a clear focus on the child’s perspective and rights in all our conversations.

Calls are charged at the normal rates and all callers can remain anonymous.

Hours: Monday-Friday 9.00-12.00(Closed weekends and Bank holidays).

BRIS helpline for coaches/sports trainers

077-440 00 42: Weekdays 9-12.

You can call the BRIS helpline for coaches to discuss any concerns you may have about a child in your club/association. Your call will be taken by experienced counsellors. The conversation can cover everything from serious situations to everyday dilemmas. The purpose of the conversation is that you, the adult, can receive support, guidance and information about how you can help improve a child’s situation. It should be noted that we, of course, have a clear focus on the child’s perspective and rights in all our conversations.

The helpline is part of a joint project between the National Sports Federation and BRIS, and is funded by the Heritage Foundation. Its aim is to aid sports coaches and trainers who engage with children and young people in vulnerable situations. Extra support is aimed at those who engage with children who have experienced trauma or forced migration.

Calls are charged at the normal rates and all callers can remain anonymous

Hours: Monday-Friday 9-12 (Closed weekends and Bank holidays)

FRIENDS

Friends is a non-profit organisation (swedish) and its mission is to stop bullying and discrimination. FRIENDS educate and support schools, preschools and sports clubs/associations throughout the country.

friends.se

References and further reading:

Barnens Spelregler

Idrotten vill (RF PDF)

Vision och värdegrund, RF

Mountjoy M, Rhind DJ, Tiivas A, et al. Safeguarding the child athlete in sport: a review, a framework and recommendations for the IOC youth athlete development model. Br J Sports Med. 2015 Jul;49(13):883-6.

Mountjoy M, Rhind DJ, Tiivas A, et al. The IOC Consensus Statement: harassment and abuse (non-accidental violence) in sport. Br J Sports Med. 2016 Sep;50(17):1019-29.

Riksidrottsförbundet


Bullying and harassment

Within the sporting community, no one should feel offended, harassed or bullied. All unions, clubs and associations, especially those which involve children and youth athletes, have a responsibility to actively work to prevent bullying and harassment.

For further support in your work against bullying and harassment you can contact the SISU sports education service in your district, www.sisuidrottsutbildarna.se

BRIS

BRIS is a children’s rights organisation. We work to strengthen children’s rights by supporting and engaging society and making children’s voices heard.

Helpline for children. Call 116 111. Free and anonymous for people under the age of 18.

Adult helpline for concerns about children077-150 50 50. Weekdays 9-12.

You can call the adult helpline if you want to discuss any worries or concerns you have regarding your own, or someone else’s child, as long as this child is under 18. Your call will be taken by experienced counsellors. The conversation can cover everything from serious situations to everyday dilemmas. The purpose of the conversation is that you, the adult, can receive support, guidance and information about how you can help improve a child’s situation. It should be noted that we, of course, have a clear focus on the child’s perspective and rights in all our conversations.

Calls are charged at the normal rates and all callers can remain anonymous.

Hours
Monday-Friday 9.00-12.00
(closed weekends and Bank holidays).

Helpline for coaches/sports trainers

077-440 00 42 Weekdays 9-12.

You can call the BRIS helpline for coaches to discuss any concerns you may have about a child in your club/association. Your call will be taken by experienced counsellors. The conversation can cover everything from serious situations to everyday dilemmas. The purpose of the conversation is that you, the adult, can receive support, guidance and information about how you can help improve a child’s situation. It should be noted that we, of course, have a clear focus on the child’s perspective and rights in all our conversations.

The helpline is part of a joint project between the National Sports Federation and BRIS, and is funded by the Heritage Foundation. Its aim is to aid sports coaches and trainers who engage with children and young people in vulnerable situations. Extra support is aimed at those who engage with children who have experienced trauma or forced migration.

References and further reading:

The Swedish Sports Confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet)


Sexual abuse

Children and young people are frequently seen and heard by adult coaches and trainers in sports. This is primarily positive, but at the same time the risk exists that people capable of committing abuse seek out the sporting environment. There are few communities in which adult involvement and engagement is as high as it is in sport. We want to enhance and protect good relationships between children, young people and adults. However, we also know that people exist who are capable of committing sexual harassment and / or sexual abuse. There are also signs that these people seek out activities and situations – such as sports – where they can make contact with children and young people. All forms of abuse are completely unacceptable in all sports activities.

The adults involved in sport have a great responsibility to ensure that the sporting environment is as safe as possible. That sexual abuse could happen in your particular sporting community often feels unthinkable and unrealistic. But the majority of people think this way, and yet it happens.

For further information see the Swedish National Sports Association (RF):

The Swedish Sports Association cannot emphasise enough the importance of preventative work. Riksidrottsförbundet kan inte nog betona vikten av ett förebyggande arbete. (RF hemsida).

The Swedish Sports Association’s policy against sexual abuse in sport. Riksidrottsförbundets policy mot sexuella övergrepp inom idrotten. (RF hemsida)

If something has happened, or if you suspect that something has happened, then we advise you to read this Om något hänt eller om du har misstanke råder vi dig att läsa här. (RF hemsida)

The Swedish Sporting Values Project – the world’s best. (Värdegrundsprojektet Svensk Idrott – världens bästa.)

Save the Children’s Parental helpline number: 020-786 786.


If something serious has happened

If or when something happens in your club/association- or if you suspect something has happened – it is extremely important to act and to act quickly. Depending on the nature of the event, a variety of actions can be appropriate. If it is a child who has been abused then it is incredibly important that the child is protected and it is of upmost importance that the child’s story, or your suspicions, are followed-up.

In the case of a serious offense, we advise you seek support.

Experts in children and youth sports are there for you, within each of the Swedish Sports Association’s 19 districts and the central administration. They are there to help guide you, and help you decide on a plan of action. These experts are trained to give you the best possible support. There also exists close contact between the Swedish Sports Association and other authorities in the majority of locations. Further to this, the Swedish Sports Association (RF) has a special collaboration with BRIS.

There are also other services available:

  • Bris helpline or children (Sweden) 116 111.
  • Bris adult (Sweden) 0771 50 50 50
  • You reach the police on 114 14. In case of emergency call: 112
  • You can also reach the social services via your Kommun (local council).

Reporting safeguarding concerns

If you have any suspicions that a child has been abused through sporting activities, or elsewhere, you are advised to report this to social services. Although sports coaches and trainers – unlike teachers, those in social services and the police – are not obliged to report such suspicions, it is strongly encouraged that we take responsibility and put a child’s safety first.

If you want to know more about reporting safeguarding concerns, you are advised to visit BRIS’s website.

Reference: The Swedish Sports Confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet)