About us

About us

What is the Child Protection in Sport Unit?

The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) is a partnership between the NSPCC, Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland and Sport Wales. In Scotland there is a similar partnership between Children 1st and sportscotland.

The Unit was founded in 2001 to work with UK Sports Councils, National Governing Bodies (NGBs), County Sports Partnerships (CSPs) and other organisations to help them minimise the risk of child abuse during sporting activities. This followed a series of high profile cases of abuse of young athletes by those in positions of trust such as coaches in the sports.

The CPSU works to help achieve the NSPCC mission to end child abuse.

What we do

Our mission is to build the capacity of sports to safeguard children and young people in and through sport and to enable sports organisations to lead the way in keeping children safe from harm.

We aim to achieve this by:

  • being a lead voice, champion, pioneer UK wide and internationally
  • providing expert safeguarding and child protection advice to sports organisations
  • contributing safeguarding knowledge to their policies, procedures and programmes
  • developing and delivering sports specific training, resources and guidance
  • coordinating, lobbying and advocating on behalf of the sports sector in response to government consultations
  • commissioning and supporting research into a range of issues, developing understanding and an evidence base
  • consulting with children and young people
  • working with international organisations to promote safeguarding work with other countries
How we work
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We play the lead role in helping sports organisations to develop and implement their responses, policies and procedures, systems and structures for safeguarding.

Since 2001, we have worked with sport and statutory agencies to ensure that all children, regardless of their level of participation in sport or where they participate, have a safe and enjoyable experience.

We help organisations to:

  • recognise their responsibility to protect children and young people left in their care
  • recognise their responsibility to pass on any concerns about children’s welfare or protection in their families or communities to a statutory agency
  • develop strategies and standards to protect children and young people
  • identify and respond to adults who are a threat to children and young people
  • develop safeguarding knowledge and skills among all staff and volunteers.


Meet the team
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Meet the CPSU team 

Anne TiivasAnne Tiivas
CPSU Director  

Anne joined the CPSU in 2001. Anne is responsible for managing the unit’s staff in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. She also manages relationships with the respective Sports Councils, with our key partners in sport, and with the wider safeguarding world.

Anne maintains contact with a range of sports-related trusts, organisations and councils as well as liaising with government departments.  She is also working with International sports bodies such as The International Olympic Committee to develop international resources to address sexual harassment and abuse of athletes.

Prior to working with the CPSU Anne worked as a trained social worker.

Nick SlinnNick Slinn
Senior Consultant England

Nick joined the CPSU in 2002. Nick has worked within the NSPCC since 1990, specialising in work with sexual offenders and child victims of abuse in a frontline service.

Nick’s area of responsibility is supporting county sport partnerships in developing their safeguarding work.

Prior to working with the CPSU Nick worked as a qualified social worker.

Jude ToaslandJude Toasland
Senior Consultant England

Jude joined the CPSU in 2009. She has worked for the NSPCC since 2000, both in Training and Consultancy and in managing direct services for children and young people. Jude is a qualified social worker.

Jude's work involves providing support to sports National Governing Bodies, supporting them in their safeguarding work. This role involves consultation, training and liaision with sports organisations, government departments and other sports bodies.

Sally ProudloveSally Proudlove
Senior Consultant England

Sally joined the CPSU in 2009. Sally’s work involves exploring how the Unit can better support designated persons at different levels throughout sports organisations.

She provides support to sports National Governing Bodies, supporting them to achieve their child protection and safeguarding policies, procedures and standards. Within the CPSU team Sally leads on our work with the mixed martial arts working group and research and evidence group. 

Prior to working with CPSU Sally has experience of frontline social work in the UK and safeguarding training in the UK and internationally.

Michelle NorthMichelle North
Senior Consultant England

Michelle joined the CPSU team in April 2013. Michelle has worked with the NSPCC since 2010 and has joined the unit from the NSPCC Safeguarding in Education Service. Michelle's work within the team will have a particular focus on FE and HE and her knowledge of the sector will help with partnership building and co-ordinating processes. 

Prior to joining the NSPCC Michelle was an Education Welfare Officer with over 10 years' frontline experience and later a Senior Manager with responsibility for prosecutions and case management. She was also a trainer for the LSCB specialising in neglect and domestic violence.

Carole Billington-WoodCarole Billington-Wood
Senior Consultant England

Carole joined the CPSU in 2005. Carole’s role involves supporting both UK Sport and Sport England NGBs and partners in developing their safeguarding work. Carole also works with Sport Wales to support the NGBs in Wales with their child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures.  Within the CPSU team Carole leads our work on elite athlete welfare.

Prior to joining the unit, Carole was Director of Development for British Triathlon. Having been a youth swimmer and GB International Triathlete, Carole remains a keen sportswoman; she has also taught PE, been a coach educator and practitioner in sports development. Carole is currently a specialist member of the National UK Anti-Doping Panel.


Paul StephensonPaul Stephenson
Senior Consultant Northern Ireland

Paul works with sports governing bodies in Northern Ireland to support them to achieve safeguarding standards for sports sector organisations and promote good safeguarding practice. He is also secretary of the Northern Ireland branch of the National Organisation for Treatment of Offenders (NOTA).

Prior to joining the NSPCC Paul managed a Probation-funded project working with those involved in the criminal justice system. A number of his previous clients were sex offenders with coaching awards and this is how he became interested in this area of work. Paul has also worked directly with young people in the care system who have experienced different forms of abuse. 

Laura WhaphamLaura Whapham
Sport Development Officer Wales

Laura works closely with Sport Wales to support the National Governing Bodies in Wales with their child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures. Laura's role also supports many of the sports through the Safeguarding Standards Framework to enable sports to maintain and embed safeguards. Within the CPSU team Laura leads on our work around deaf and disabled children and young people in sport.

Prior to joining the team Laura worked predominantly in the voluntary social care sector with a range of young people with complex needs, including children with disabilities, young carers and looked after children. She is also a keen sportswoman, with a degree in sport and physical education.

Lian GatenLian Gaten
Information Officer

Lian joined the CPSU team in August 2010. Prior to this Lian worked for NSPCC Safe Network project as an Administrator from June 2009.

Lian and Hannah are jointly responsible for making safeguarding information widely accessible through our website and answering enquiries that come into the unit.

They also coordinate the development of our newsletter, Relay. They are both responsible for digital development and dissemination of information and guidance to the sports sector. The Information Officer's core project is to review and update the website.

Hannah MansellHannah Mansell
Information Officer

Hannah began working as an Information Officer in April 2009. She works with Lian to manage the CPSU website, newsletter and Twitter account. Previously she worked as an Administrator for the CPSU team since March 2007.


Julyn WalkerJulyn Walker
Support Service Co-ordinator

Julyn joined the CPSU in 2004. Julyn is responsible for dealing with financial procedures within the CPSU.  She assists internal departments and external organisations with enquiries and also contributes to inducting, developing and supporting team members.

Linda BillingtonLinda Billington

Linda joined the CPSU in October 2011, working part time. Linda provides administrative support for the team, one of the main roles being to co-ordinate the administration for the working groups that CPSU are part of or lead on.

Emma Payne

Emma joined the CPSU in May 2015, working full time. Emma provides support for the team, one of the main roles being to co-ordinate training events for the CPSU.




Strategic work
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The Sports Safeguarding Children Initiative (SSCI):

In 2010 the sports sector responded to a call to action from the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit to identify ways to improve safeguards for children and young people in and through sport in England.

It was supported by every major sports body in England and by key Government departments. It led to the creation of the Strategic Group for the Safeguarding Children in Sport Initiative. The SSCI mid-project progress report (from October 2013) outlines all of those organisations involved and records the achievements of the group so far.