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Safe Para Sport Allies

Safe Sport Allies is a collaborative partnership (Erasmus+ funding) between Thomas More, G-sport Flanders and the LFB (interest group of and for people with intellectual disability). The focus of the project is to tackle harassment and abuse in disability sports by developing, implementing and testing bystander interventions which are tailor made for para-sport coaches. 


Research shows that sport participants with disabilities have an increased risk of experiencing intimidation and harassment and abuse compared to their non-disabled peers. This project aims to adapt the existing Safe Sport Allies intervention to the specific context of para-sport coaches working with sport participants with an intellectual disability (ID) or cerebral palsy (CP). Available prevention materials do not sufficiently take into account their specific needs and context. We mainly focus on the para-sport coaches.

 Coaches spend a lot of time with sport participants and that makes them a crucial person to become a bystander. They are often a ‘first responder’ when violence occurs, and therefore they need to be equipped to recognize, prevent and combat harassment and abuse. The intervention program will help para-sport coaches to become more vigilant and responsive to situations of harassment and abuse towards sport participants with ID and CP.

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Our objectives are to: 

  1. interview para-sport coaches on their needs with regard to safeguarding;
  2. raise knowledge and awareness on harassment and abuse in para-sport; 
  3. support para-sport coaches to identify signs of harassment and abuse; and 
  4. stimulate positive coach-bystander behaviour. 



Helena Verhelle

Helena Verhelle is a researcher in the research group People and Well-being, research line Safeguarding Sport & Society. She focusses on the prevalence and prevention of harassment and abuse in sports and higher eduction. 



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


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. 

Related research lines