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Facts and Figures

Sexual violence against children in Europe

  • Available data suggest that about 1 in 5 children in Europe are victims of some form of sexual violence.
  • It is estimated that in 70% to 85% of cases, the abuser is somebody the child knows and trusts. Child sexual violence can take many forms: sexual abuse within the family circle, child pornography and prostitution, corruption, solicitation via Internet and sexual assault by peers.

The Council of Europe 1in5 Campaign

Child sexual abuse (high-income countries)

  • During childhood, between 5-10% of girls and up to 5% of boys are exposed to penetrative sexual abuse – 3 times this number are exposed to any form of sexual abuse

The Lancet (Gilbert et al., 2009)

Sexual abuse in sport

  • The NSPCC‘s survey of 6000 students in the UK highlighted that 29% had experienced sexual harassment in sport (17% male, 34% female)
  • The National Police Chiefs’ Council in the UK estimate that the number of victims coming forward with allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse within sport stands at 784 (at 28 September 2017). 96% of those identified as victims are male. 331 football clubs have been impacted
  • Dr Tine Vertommen‘s research involving 4000 adults who had participated in sport as children in Belgium and the Netherlands revealed that 14% had experienced sexual violence (17% female, 11% male)
  • Dr Bettina Rulofs‘ study found that one third of German squad athletes have experienced some form of sexualised violence in sport. One in nine German athletes experienced severe sexual violence, such as sexual assault and rape

Sexual violence in Europe

  • 1 in 20 women (5%) has been raped since the age of 15
  • 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15
  • 12% of women indicate that they have experienced some form of sexual abuse or incident by an adult before the age of 15, which corresponds to about 21 million women in the EU
  • 53% of all women in the EU avoid certain situations or places, at least sometimes, for fear of being physically or sexually assaulted
  • UK reports the 5th highest incidence of sexual and physical violence to women (44%)

Violence Against Women Survey (EU Agency for Fundamental Rights)

Sexual violence in the UK

  • According to the Ministry of Justice, Home Office & Office of National Statistics (Jan. 2013):
  • On average, 2.5% of females (approx. 404,000) and 0.4% of males (approx. 72,000) are victims of sexual offences (including attempts) on average per year
  • 85,000 females & 12,000 males report being victims of rape or sexual assault by penetration, on average, each year
  • Around 1in 20 females (aged 16 to 59) reported being a victim of a most serious sexual offence since the age of 16
  • Extending this to include other sexual offences such as sexual threats, unwanted touching or indecent exposure, this increased to 1in 5 females reporting being a victim since the age of 16
  • Around 90% of victims of the most serious sexual offences in the previous year knew the perpetrator
  • Only 15% of female victims of rape and/or sexual assault offences said that they had reported the crime to the police
  • Females aged between 16 and 19 were at the highest risk of being a victim of a sexual offence (8.2%) and as age increased the risk of victimisation reduced.

Support Services

We also want to ensure that you can access specialist support services should you wish to do so, before, during or after the research.

NWG Network is a central partner and has a great deal of experience working with, and advocating for, victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. It has a range of expertise to draw upon as well as a very strong network of specialist organisations that offer crucial support services in this area.

In addition, each partner organisation is also partnered by a victim-support organisation in their own country.

National helplines

If you need help and support, please get in touch with the national helplines in your country. Further details (in PDF) of national helplines and support organisations in the VOICE partner countries can be accessed by clicking here.

National research contacts

If you have research-related questions regarding the VOICE Project, please contact the national research partner in each VOICE partner country. Details via the link below. (See also Information > Research Team).

Educational resources

Final Report

The final report describes the structure and goals of the VOICE project and summarizes central findings. A total of 72 interviews were conducted with persons affected of sexual violence in sport. The report presents an overview of the main results of these interviews and provides in-depth insights into the life stories of individual survivors. Download the report below.

thumbnail of VOICE_Final Report_kompr

Good Practice Guide

A key outcome of the VOICE Project was to develop a guide for sport organisations of all sizes to assist them in their efforts to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation and, in particular, to assist them in their engagement with those who have been subjected to sexual violence in sport. Download the guide below.

thumbnail of VOICE-GOOD PRACTISE GUIDE_Einzelseiten_final

Educational Films

A further key outcome of VOICE was to utilise the original research to develop resources that may assist organizations throughout Europe to develop educational experiences aimed at sensitizing their members to key issues relevant to understanding and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation in sport. Our key concern was to develop resources that are authentic and grounded in real experiences.

There are seven short films (4-9min.) which highlight different areas of the topic. All persons in the film are actors, yet the stories behind are the real stories collected in the VOICE-project. The films often include the voice of the actual survivor speaking in his/her own language, but you can have access to films with subtitles in six different languages: English, German, Dutch, Slovenian, Danish and Spanish.

Each film comes with a support manual including background material and instructions for using the film in educational settings. The purpose of these educational packages is to promote awareness and encourage discussion within safe and supportive environments. If you intend to use these resources within an organized sport setting (i.e. with groups), we strongly recommend that you have undertaken some form of training in relation to child protection or are supported by individuals with experience and expertise in this area.

We recommend that the packages are used within an adult group (e.g. the club committee, coaching staff) first to allow for discussion and evaluation. Where the audience includes children, parental consent must be sought in advance. Children should always be informed beforehand about the topic and content and given the option to participate or not. We also recommend that these packages are used as part of an ongoing process of awareness raising and not simply a one-off event.

Please be aware: The content of the film might upset you and those you show the film to. Please take care that you watch the films in a surrounding that offers support and the possibility to discuss the content. Further details about support services in the Voice partner countries is included in the Support section above.

If you want to watch and download the films, please click below:

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