Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Projects in the area of: safeguarding, child and adult welfare and children’s rights; lived experiences of (child/adult) abuse/maltreatment/violence (especially physical and emotional/psychological violence, gender-based violence and harassment, eating disorders, overtraining and injury); ethics and integrity in sport; gender, sexuality and equality/equity in sport; youth sport policy implementation and evaluation; narrative methodologies and pedagogies; ethnographic research.


    Research activity per year

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    Personal profile


    Melanie is Assistant Director of the Centre for Safeguarding and Child Protection in Sport (CPSS) at Edge Hill Univeristy and Senior Lecturer in Child Protection in Sport. Her research and teaching focuses on safeguarding and child protection issues, athlete welfare, gender-based violence, and children's rights in sport. 

    She is the UK country lead and a member of the steering committee for the 2019-2021 Erasmus+ funded project ‘Child Abuse in Sport: European Statistics' (CASES) - the first project to estimate the prevalence of child abuse in sport across six EU countries. She served as UK national lead and steering committee member on the 2016-2017 European Commission-funded project 'Gender-Based Violence in Sport' and has worked on funded consultancy with key sport stakeholders and safeguarding and child protection charities.

    Melanie is an expert research member of the Pool of European Experts on Sexual Violence in Sport (part of the Council of Europe and European Union Pro Safe Sport+ project), and a member of the NSPCC Sport England Child Protection in Sport Unit Research Evidence and Advisory Group, and the UK Coaching Safeguarding Talented and Elite Children Expert Group. She is also an invited expert member of the Research Chair in Security and Integrity in Sport at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. 

    Melanie works with national sports and coaching organisations, charities and sport and safeguarding groups and has delivered training and continuing professional development workshops to sport policymakers, coaches, athletes and charitable organisations from the UK, China, Japan and Ghana. Her work has been supported by the European Commission Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency, the Sport England/ NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit, the Japanese government, Sport England, and the NWG Network. 

    As well as scientific publications in world-leading journals, Melanie is editor of three books: ‘The Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare’ (Routledge, 2020), ‘Safeguarding, Child Protection and Abuse in Sport: International Perspectives in Research, Policy and Practice’ (Routledge, 2015), and ‘Bullying and the Abuse of Power’ (Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010). She is regularly called on to speak in the national and international media on safeguarding, child protection, and violence prevention issues in sport, and is an expert reviewer for academic journals, Routledge sport book proposals, and the International Olympic Committee and Economic and Social Research Council grant applications.

    Melanie's internals roles within Edge Hill University include acting as a supervisor and examiner of MRes and PhD candidates, chairing Posgraduate Research Student vivas, serving as the Social Sciences department International Co-ordinator for study abroad schemes, and sitting on the institutional Social Sciences Research Ethcis Committee.   


    Research interests

    Safeguarding, child protection and abuse in sport

    Welfare and well-being of adult and child athletes

    Lived experiences of violence, abuse and maltreatment in sport 

    Interpersonal violence in sport

    Gender-based violence in sport

    Sexual harassment in sport

    Children's rights in sport

    Ethics and integrity in sport

    Youth sport policy implementation and evaluation

    Narrative methodology and pedagogy

    Ethnographic research

    Research ethics

    Sensitive research


    Melanie introduced some of the first teaching modules on athlete welfare, child protection and children's rights in sport nationwide in her current and prevous institutions. She currently teaches modules on a range of sociology and sociology of sport themes and is a supervisor to MRes and PhD students working in the area of safeguarding and child protection in sport and physical activity. 

    Education/Academic qualification

    Academic Practice, PGCert, York St John University

    Award Date: 16 Jul 2010

    Sociology of Sport, PhD, Leeds Beckett University


    Award Date: 9 May 2009

    Sociology of Sport, MA, Leeds Beckett University


    Award Date: 16 Jul 2005

    Modern Languages, BA, University of Sheffield

    Award Date: 27 Jun 1998

    Other positions

    Ambassador, Freedom from Abuse (charity)

    Jun 2020 → …

    Expert research member, Université Laval

    1 Oct 2019 → …

    Member of the UK Coaching Safeguarding Talented and Elite Children Expert Group

    2018 → …

    Expert member of the Pool of European Experts on Sexual Violence in Sport

    2017 → …

    Associate editor, International Journal of Sport and Health

    Jun 2014Jun 2015

    Associate editor, International Journal of Sport and Society

    Jun 2014Jun 2016

    Associate editor, Sports Pedagogy and Physical Education

    Jun 2014Jun 2015

    Member of the editorial board of the Irish Journal of Sociology


    Member of the Sport England/ NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit Research Evidence and Advisory Group

    2009 → …

    Editorial advisory board member, 'Network' - the British Sociological Association's member publication

    Sep 2008Jul 2015


    • H Social Sciences
    • sport, sociology, child protection, safeguarding, gender-based violence, athlete welfare, abuse
    • violence, maltreatment, gender-based violence
    • HM Sociology
    • H Social Sciences (General)
    • HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
    • GV Recreation Leisure


    Dive into the research topics where MELANIE LANG is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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