Karen LeachChild Protection Advocate
Karen Leach is a safe sport advocate, an ambassador for VOICE (Voices for Truth and Dignity Combatting Sexual Violence in European Sport through the Voices of Those Affected), and an accredited psychotherapist and counsellor, trained in Family Systems and Choice Theory.
As a child, Leach was recognised as a talented swimmer with strong aspirations and a realistic chance of representing Ireland at the Olympic Games. Between the ages of 10 and 17, she spent endless hours in the swimming pool. During this time, she was routinely abused by her coach.
Since the publication of her story in the book Deep Deception: Ireland’s Swimming Scandals, Leach has been speaking out across Europe and advocating on behalf of children and young people.
She is working to create a greater level of awareness and encourage safer spaces for children and young people in sport, working regularly with national and international organisations, in both advisory and public speaking capacities.
In 2011, Leach started training to be a psychotherapist. Since gaining her accreditation, she has been able to help and support others, including those who have suffered abuse.
At the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, Leach will be assisting the International Olympic Committee in educating athletes and entourage members about this important topic.
She calls upon all attendees of the Olympism in Action Forum to work together to eradicate harassment and abuse in sport.