Dr Mike Hartill is Reader in the Sociology of Sport within the Department of Social Sciences at Edge Hill University. He is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC).
Mike has conducted research into child abuse in sport for over fifteen years. He has been particularly influential in highlighting the sexual abuse of boys within sports contexts, as well as conducting some of the earliest research into child protection and safeguarding policy within sport. Mike also developed several undergraduate modules on child protection in sport, from 2002 onwards, the first of their kind globally.
Mike has worked with a wide range of organisations in the UK such as the Rugby Football League, Street Games, Sport England, the NWG Network, the NSPCC, the Child Protection in Sport Unit and Survivors Manchester. Mike has also collaborated with many international organisations, such as the Council of Europe, the European Union, EPAS, ENGSO Youth, the national sports councils from Germany, Spain and Austria, and many universities. He has worked on a number of pan-European projects aimed at preventing abuse and sexual exploitation of children in sport. For example, within the project ‘Sport Respects Your Rights’ Mike helped to educate young people in sport, from across Europe, about the issue of sexual exploitation. This project provided a platform for young people to devise and deliver their own campaign on sexual violence in sport.
His current research – ‘Voices for Truth & Dignity’ – is a collaboration between eight European countries focused on the perspectives of those with lived experience (‘survivors’) of sexual abuse in sport and funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme. This project recently staged an international conference in Cologne where many men and women chose to speak out about their experiences and contribute to a ground-breaking research study that has also generated educational resources for the European sports community.
Mike has also been instrumental in establishing Sport England’s newly formed Advisory Panel, served by a group of men and women with lived experience of sexual abuse in sport. He serves as an academic expert for the Council of Europe programme Pro Safe Sport and the UK Men and Boys Coalition and has recently founded the research network ChiPS (Child Protection and Safeguarding), comprised of Edge Hill colleagues with experience and expertise in delivering and researching child protection.
Mike is also leading the EU-funded project CASES (Child Abuse in Sport: European Statistics) which will investigate the prevalence of sexual abuse in sport in six European countries.