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), ISR Fellow (Research and External Funding), and Reader in Child Protection in Sport at Edge Hill University, UK. Her research and teaching focuses on safeguarding, child protection and abuse prevention in sport; athlete welfare; gender-based violence in sport; and children's rights in sport. 

    She is UK lead and a member of the steering committee for the Erasmus+ funded project ‘Child Abuse in Sport: European Statistics' (CASES) (2019-2021) and the International Olympic Committee Advanced Research Grant Programme-funded project 'Athlete- and coach-led education for  teaching about abuse and neglect' (2020-2021). She was previously UK lead on the European Commission-funded project 'Gender-Based Violence in Sport' (2016-2017) and has carried out consultancy for several national sports organisations and safeguarding and child protection charities.

    Melanie is a member of the Pool of European Experts on Sexual Violence in Sport (EU), the NSPCC Sport England Child Protection in Sport Unit Research Evidence and Advisory Group (UK), and the Research Chair in Security and Integrity in Sport (Laval University, Quebec, Canada). She i also an ambassador for Freedom from Abuse. 

    Melanie works with national and international sports and coaching organisations, third-sector organisations and sport and safeguarding groups and has delivered training and continuing professional development workshops to 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, Sport England, and NWG Network. 

    As well as publishing scientific articles, Melanie is editor of three books: ‘The Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare’ (Routledge, 2021), ‘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  regularly appears in the national and international media as an expert speaker on safeguarding, child protection, and violence prevention issues in sport and is a subject expert reviewer for various journals and for 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 Ethics 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. 

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
    • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

    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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