Skip to main content

Accountability and ending impunity: the responsibility of institutions

Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme / Partner story

Photo: © Scott Barbour / Getty Images
Photo caption: APIA, SAMOA – SEPTEMBER 05 Athletes from the Cook Islands enter the arena during the Opening Ceremony of the Vth Commonwealth Youth Games at Apia Park on September 5, 2015 in Apia, Samoa.

A number of large sporting organisations and financial institutions like the World Bank – whose work impacts millions of children – have in recent years adopted measures to safeguard children. The programme’s new strategy supports the implementation of these standards and, more generally, a shift from norms and behaviours that perpetuate silence to those that prioritise the rights of children.

The culture of sports can be shifted

The close working relationship that children have to their coaches, as well as their dependence on them to succeed and get ahead in the professional sporting arena, can leave them vulnerable to manipulation and abuse.

Recently, adult athletes who were sexually abused in childhood have courageously come forward to challenge sporting organisations to do a better job of preventing the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children. For organisations looking to implement meaningful change, the story of the Commonwealth Games offers a path forward.

Under the leadership of CEO David Grevemberg, the Commonwealth Games Federation, with support from UNICEF UK, is a pioneer in the sporting community. The organisation requires that child safeguarding measures be in place in all contractual agreements for its signature Games, its Youth Games and across all aspects of its operations. This not only makes the events safer for children, but leaves lasting changes, including improved legislation, in the host countries. The Federation has also begun to train its members, 71 nations in all, to put child safeguarding measures in place for their sports teams. This sets a global benchmark, because 53 of their members also serve as National Olympic Committees.

“Sport is a vehicle for improving the lives of children. All Games are measured against the shared vision of building peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities, which means putting children first.”

– David Grevemberg, CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

This grant falls under Oak’s Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (PCSA) programme, and within that our priority funding area of safe sports for children, that supports efforts to safeguard children in sport and support survivors of child sexual abuse in sport. 

For more information about the work being done to increase accountability and end impunity, read page 14 of Oak’s 2017 Annual Report.

Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report 2017

Related stories: