How NOC*NSF helps 5 million people in sports speak up

NOC*NSF, the Dutch Sports Federation, has been at the forefront of promoting integrity and safety in sports. They commit to making sports safe and enjoyable for everyone. We spoke to Miriam Reijnen, the Coordinator for the Centre of Safe Sports at NOC*NSF, who has always been driven by a powerful sense of justice.

Company size
Represents 24000 sports associations
The Netherlands

5.2 million

Nearly 5.2 million stakeholders

2 to 3 conversations

2 or 3 conversations on SpeakUp before personal contact was established

Much-needed dialogue

Opened up much-needed dialogue about misconduct

Partnering with SpeakUp, NOC*NSF have made significant strides in addressing misconduct, particularly sexual harassment, across their vast network in the sports community. Let’s unpack why creating a safe environment for athletes is pivotal, now more than ever – and how NOC*NSF is using SpeakUp to manage misconduct reporting at a large scale.

Solving the challenge: confronting misconduct in sports

Safety in sports is non-negotiable. With a pressing need to tackle sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct in sports, N looked for a robust, anonymous reporting solution that not only can serve the size of their organisation but the expected number of cases that may come in.

Prior systems offered the organisation limited reporting capabilities and lacked centralised control, hindering effective case management and transparency. In response to a critical 2017 report on sexual harassment in sports, NOC*NSF implemented SpeakUp, which topped other providers in being able to offer a transparent and centralised case tracking across various sports federations.

Along with that, Miriam and her team was met with expert advice on risks and implementation process from SpeakUp that helped them in the decision-making journey.

How does NOC*NSF reach 5+ million people?

To reach over 5 million people, including athletes and staff, NOC*NSF leverages social media and newsletters, acknowledging the challenge of widespread awareness but focusing on accessibility and knowledge of reporting channels. Miriam mentions that it takes time to create awareness, and with such many people to reach, it may be an illusion that all will be reached. But the main goal is to ensure that people know where to go and how to report – which SpeakUp ensures with an intuitive, low barrier method of communication.

The results of an anonymous reporting channel in sports misconduct

Athletes have increasingly made use of SpeakUp, often reaching out to the NOC*NSF anonymously. This anonymity has brought forward meaningful conversations within the SpeakUp system, typically involving just two to three dialogues before establishing personal contact. Here are the key results they have noticed after implementing SpeakUp:

Growing trust and usage

The anonymity and security provided by SpeakUp encourages increased usage among athletes, creating a culture where people feel safe to report concerns.

Expanding the scope to reflect societal trends

Recognising the evolving nature of societal issues, NOCNSF broadened SpeakUp's application to include discrimination, bullying, and abuse of power, reflecting a commitment to addressing a wide range of misconduct.

Creating a comprehensive reporting system

The case management system (CMS) proves to be exceptionally adaptable, tailored to the unique requirements within the sports sector and addressing specific misconduct issues. SpeakUp’s flexibility allowed them to create the necessary user accounts and provide clear instructions.

Establishing the much-needed conversation

NOC*NSF finds that they are able to stay alert and engage in conversation when needed via SpeakUp. Creating a safer world for athletes, together

Choosing SpeakUp as NOC*NSF’s partner in reporting channels was a strategic decision, influenced by their ability to handle the scale of their operations and the expected volume of cases. The flexibility and adaptability of the SpeakUp system were key factors in its successful integration.

The partnership with SpeakUp marks a significant advancement in creating a safer, more ethical sports environment. Through SpeakUp, they have brought forward a platform that not only addresses immediate concerns but also shapes the future of sports integrity – which is an issue pivotal to their DNA.

“I would have no hesitation in using SpeakUp, knowing the organisation handles cases with integrity and proper care. It's about creating a space where nearly 5 million people feel heard and trusted to report issues.”

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