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Safe Sport e.V. - psychologische und juristische Beratung

it’s not okay

“I became a victim of sexualized violence in equestrian sports in the mid-eighties. Only my mother believed me. It couldn’t be what wasn’t allowed to be – and so no one ever held my perpetrator accountable and I stopped riding. If there had been an independent point of contact back then, it would have been possible for me or my mother to get the help we needed.”

Gitta Schwarz (Board of Safe Sport e.V.)


People who witness(ed) violence often face great emotional challenges. They are often unsure how to assess a situation, how to respond appropriately or how to stop the violence. Victims often feel alone, ashamed, and distressed. Observers can also feel guilty because they may not have acted quickly – often, out of fear of negative consequences. This can lead to a diffusion of responsibility, especially in group settings where several observers inhibit each other by not acting. When a person reports an issue to Safe Sport, an important first step is beeing taken.

Regardless of which counselling approach is chosen (by phone, online, on-site) and whether someone has experienced or witnessed violence, the first priority is to establish a trusting relationship. Within a protected framework, the concerns are clarified and the possibilities and limits of psychological counselling are discussed. The counselling is based on a person-centered and solution-oriented approach. The overall aim is to take the person seeking advice seriously in their experience, to strengthen their self-efficacy and to provide “help for self-help”. The person seeking advice is free to decide at any time
which experiences they wish to share and can end the counselling at any time. At the end of the conversation, for example, possible steps for action are summarised and, if necessary, further appointments are made. If desired and needed, referrals to further support services will be made. Counselling does not replace psychotherapeutic treatment. Long-term support beyond ten counselling sessions is not possible.


If victims or observers are unsure whether an incident constitutes a boundary violation that also has a legal component, Safe Sport can also offer legal support. In legal counselling, those seeking advice learn what consequences their own decisions may have on further events in legal terms. The counselling supports those seeking advice about standing up for their rights in a selfdetermined and independent manner. The legal counselling service is also aimed at people who have not directly experienced violence themselves, but would like to support an affected person.

Every case is different. In order to classify an incident legally, an individual assessment by a lawyer is required. The counsellors listen actively and create a basis of trust. In a joint dialogue and after a professional assessment of the situation described, those seeking advice are informed as to whether a legally relevant situation exists (e.g. assault with criminal relevance) and which legal options for action exist. Those affected decide for themselves what information they wish to provide about an incident during counselling and can end counselling at any time. The purpose of the counselling is to know all possible courses of action. It is always up to the person seeking advice to decide whether and, if so, how to proceed legally. At the end of each counselling session, the contents discussed and the needs of the person seeking advice are summarised and an outlook is given on the possible further course of action. The legal advice provided by Safe Sport e.V. is not a substitute for legal
representation. Long-term case support or in-depth legal advice cannot be provided.