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The SAFE-Sport project's mission is to create the necessary evidence to promote a motivating and safe sports climate in Flanders.


From until

Supported by

Sport Vlaanderen

About the project

As sports professionals, we all want athletes to play sports in a safe environment. Various actors in the Flemish sports world have therefore been actively working in recent years to prevent interpersonal violence towards athletes.  

SAFE-sport is a collaboration between researchers at Thomas More and Ghent University, with support from Sport Vlaanderen. The project aims at further developing and strengthening the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport.
The goal of SAFE-sport is threefold:

  • to map the level of acceptance and normalization of harassment and abuse by coaches and athletes in order to stimulate a constructive dialogue between both target groups (WP1 - Ghent University);
  • mapping the knowledge, awareness, attitudes, norms and competences of sport professionals regarding detecting and responding to harassment and abuse, in order to develop tools to stimulate positive bystander behavior (WP2 - Thomas More);
  • to detect risk and protective factors in Flemish gymnasts in order to develop preventive initiatives (WP3 - Ghent University).


Participating as a young athlete in organized sports is associated with many health and social benefits. However, this sector, like other social sectors , is an environment in which harassment and abuse can occur. For sport to play its positive social role to the fullest, harassment and abuse must be prevented at all levels of sport. Although several policy measures have been taken, the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport can still be further strengthened.



Tine Vertommen

Tine Vertommen (PhD) is research coordinator of Safeguarding Sport & Society  in the People and Well-being research group. As a criminologist she conducts research on the prevalence and prevention of harassment and abuse in sports. 


Karolien Adriaens

Karolien Adriaens (PhD) is a researcher in the People and Well-being research group, research line Safeguarding Sport & Society.  As a clinical psychologist she is working on  research projects on harassment and abuse in sports and child maltreatment

Related research lines