Harassment in sports

Recognition and prevention of harassment in sports forms part of FINCIS's activities in order to strengthen ethically sustainable sports culture. Together with other sports stakeholders, FINCIS is committed to developing and implementing the best possible practices to put an end to inappropriate behaviour. Harassment has no place in sports.

Based on assignments from sports federations, FINCIS has conducted investigations into sexual and gender-based harassment and bullying in competitive sports. Based on the investigations, it can be stated that various forms of harassment and bullying occur in sports. On the basis of the aforementioned investigations for sports federations and investigative measures implemented by FINCIS, as well as cases of harassment in sports which have emerged in public, a clear need for more extensive investigation of the phenomenon has been recognised. The project Harassment in Finnish Competitive Sports, covering all sports in Finland, was launched in autumn 2019 to investigate whether sexual or gender-based harassment is present in competitive sports and how common such phenomena are. Based on the investigation, more effective methods for prevention and intervention will be created. A report of the investigation is due for completion in spring 2020.

Sexual and gender-based harassment

Sexual harassment can occur in many forms, varying from the use of inappropriate sexualised language and suggestions to violations of physical integrity. Gender-based harassment includes the use of abusive or disparaging verbal expressions about another person's gender. Harassment is unwanted and one-sided, and the person who is the target of the actions determines the limits of appropriate behaviour. Sexual and gender-based harassment is often experienced as threatening, hostile, abusive, humiliating or distressing.

Instructions on actions to be taken if harassment is suspected

It is important to speak to a reliable person if you have become a target of sexual harassment or violence. You are also allowed to be concerned or anxious about this issue, or the survey, even if you have not experienced harassment.

These guidelines for situations in which harassment is suspected are adapted from those published by Väestöliitto, the Family Federation of Finland:
  • Speak about the matter with a reliable person. You have every right to speak out, even if during the incident which involved harassment, the perpetrator may have demanded that you keep it secret.
  • To get help, contact health care services, a psychologist or a person you trust in your sports federation, club or players' association.
  • You can also contact the You are not alone - ‘Et ole yksin' service anonymously for help. The service is a joint project of Väestöliitto, the Family Federation of Finland, and Finnish sports. Call Mon–Tue from 2pm to 5.30pm, tel. +358 (0)800 144 644. Chat Wed–Thu from 2pm to 5.30pm.
  • You can contact the helpline for children and young people – ‘Lasten ja nuorten puhelin' – anonymously, Mon–Fri from 2pm to 8pm and Sat–Sun from 5pm to 8pm, tel. +358 116 111 or chat Mon–Wed from 5pm to 8pm.
  • Boys and young men under 20 can also contact the Poikien Puhelin (Boys' Phone) helpline service, Mon–Fri from 1pm to 6pm, tel. +358 (0)800 94 884. Boys' Phone chat on weekdays from 1pm to 3pm.
  • Girls and women can contact the Women's Line helpline for guidance and support, Mon–Fri from 4pm to 8pm and Sat–Sun from 12 noon to 4pm., tel. +358 (0)800 02400.
  • The rape crisis centre Tukinainen provides support, help and guidance for victims of sexual offences and their close ones.
  • Victim Support Finland helps if you have fallen victim to a crime or a crime attempt or witness a crime.
  • Further information about sexual harassment and violence is available in the Nuortennetti online service for young people, for example.
  • Anyone can report any suspected ethical violation in sports through the ILMO-service on the FINCIS (Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports) website. The report in the ILMO service can be made anonymously about a suspected case of harassment, for example.
  • You have the right to be heard and get help, even if the perpetrator may have said that nobody will take you seriously.  Never lose hope and confidence in the future. You are allowed, and it is possible, to recover from bad experiences.