The Diplomatic Council, White IT child protection association and DC Mission Vienna have initiated an open Alliance Against Abuse in professional sport. The objective is to encourage companies, associations, organizations, civil societies and scientific organizations to join this initiative. Alliance Against Abuse will be formally kicked-off with the signing of an MoU on the occasion of the Diplomatic Council annual reception at the Vienna City Hall on September 15. At the invitation of Vienna’s Lord Mayor, the Diplomatic Council is organizing its reception at the prestigious senate hall for the second time this year.
Sport as a role model
Star pianist Albert Frantz, Head of DC Mission Vienna and co-founder of the Alliance, explains: “In today’s world, sport represents an essential part of our society. Its importance must not be neglected at any time. Sport contributes to bringing joy to peoples’ lives, it enhances values such as fairness, tolerance, reliability, the capacity for teamwork and commitment. It strengthens the social cohesion and is a reflection of society.”
Thorsten Nowak, Head of White IT, Chairman of the DC Safer Internet for Children Initiative and co-founder of the Alliance, emphasizes: “Sport connects people, however, this close connection is exactly what also bears risks. The physical proximity between athletes and trainers creates a quick relationship of trust. The common pressure to perform as well as joint activities brings both sides closer together. However, such close proximity is easily misused.” Abuse in professional sport is still a taboo subject although it is omnipresent. In the past, these types of abuses have been just ignored and even today it has not improved so much.
Project “Safe Sport”
Unfortunately there are no valid figures for Europe when it comes to abuses in professional sport . In Germany, a study presented by the German Sport University in Cologne has revealed that one third of all respondents have admitted to have experienced sexualized violence. One in nine respondents has suffered from severe and/or ongoing sexualized violence in professional sport. Affected persons were professional athletes, both female and male, however women were more affected.
The study “Safe Sport” makes aware that abuse in professional sport is no exception but represents an issue that affects our society as a whole and must be combated effectively and strongly. In particular, since athletes act as role models for children, teenagers, adults and seniors and add to the prestige of their country depending on their success and their behavior.
Fighting and condemning abuse in professional sport will send a signal against abuse also in all other sports carried out by the population at large. Offenders must be identified and prosecuted in addition to prevention and intervention measures.
To this end, the Diplomatic Council, DC Mission Vienna and White IT pledge to look for legal, technical and political solutions to fight against abuse in professional sport!