[Masterclass] Responding to human rights abuse in sport: Safe, effective and appropriate investigation

18 - 19 January 2023
  • Starts at: 11:00h
  • Fee: € 950
  • Venue: FIFPRO, Scorpius 161, 2132 LR Hoofddorp
  • Organiser: Asser Institute
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In recent years, the world of sport has seen a rise in reports of cases of emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Sport has often struggled to respond in a safe, effective and appropriate way  to these cases.  This has, at best, led to missed opportunities to improve and strengthen prevention mechanisms.  At worst, it has caused retraumatisation and additional harm to those affected. Sign up for our Masterclass and learn how to respond in a safe, appropriate, and effective way to cases of human rights abuse in sport. 

This Masterclass uses real life challenges from past investigations to provide insight into how (not) to respond to reports and allegations of sport-related cases of abuse. It will provide you with the tools and knowledge to respond to abuse cases while protecting those affected, complying with human rights, and upholding the integrity of sport .

Widespread abuse in sports
The last five years have seen a huge uptick in reports of cases of emotional psychological, physical and sexual abuse in sport. All over the world, across different sports, non-recent and recent cases have come to light: abuse allegations in Dutch gymnastics and US gymnastics, the abuse of female basketball players in Mali, systematic abuse of child athletes in Japan, the abuse of young boys within the English football, or sexual abuse of the Afghanistan National Women’s Football Team to mention but a few.

Ineffective response
Responses from the relevant entities like sport organisations and governments have often fallen short of both the expectations of those impacted, and internationally recognised human rights standards . Some organisations have failed to initiate any investigation whatsoever, while others have commissioned or led inadequate responses. This has resulted in  strong  criticism from affected persons, their representatives, and other civil society organisations. However, until now sport has not benefited from  any real  clarity or consistency around good practice on how to respond in a safe, adequate and effective way to allegations of abuse. This course seeks to address that.

Good practice based on research and experience
The Centre for Sport and Human Rights (CSHR) has conducted a study, in conjunction with victims, survivors, and whistleblowers of abuse across continents and sporting disciplines, to develop  guidance on how to conduct safe, appropriate and effective investigations into abuse cases in sport. In this professional Masterclass, the Asser Institute partners with CSHR to connect practical research-based guidelines with relevant legal norms and procedures to address human rights abuses in sport.

What will you learn?

  •         How (not) to respond to reports and allegations of sport-related cases of abuse
  •         Knowledge and experience in responding to such cases in a way that protects the affected person from further harm and complies with human rights
  •         The role that investigations play in access to remedy more broadly

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Coordinator undefined
Daniela Heerdt is a researcher in the strand on transnational public interests: constituting public interest beyond and below the state. Daniela specialises in public international law and human rights law and defended her PhD project entitled 'Blurred Lines of Responsibility and Accountability – Human Rights Abuses at Mega-Sporting Events' in April 2021 at Tilburg University. 

Daniela also works as independent consultant in the field of sport and human rights for the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, or the European Parliament, among other clients from the sports ecosystem.