About us

What is the CPSU?

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's 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.

An introduction to the CPSU

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

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

Meet the CPSU team

Anne TiivasAnne Tiivas, OBE
CPSU Director  

Anne joined the CPSU in 2001. Anne is responsible for managing the unit’s staff across 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 liaison with sports organisations, government departments and other sports bodies.

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 
Senior Consultant 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.

Cerri Dando
National Development Officer Wales

Cerri started with the unit in August 2017 as a part-time member of staff. Cerri works with the Welsh National Governing Bodies and supports them to embed safeguarding practice by helping them to achieve the safeguarding standards. 

Before joining the unit, Cerri was a Lead Safeguarding Officer for an NGB in Wales and worked as a UK Coaching Tutor specialising in safeguarding. Cerri is also a qualified gymnastics and netball coach. 

Hannah Mansell
Senior Content Specialist

Hannah began working as an Information Officer for the team in April 2009 and accepted the role of Senior Content Specialist in May 2017.

She works with the NSPCC's digital team to review and improve the content of the CPSU website.

Previously she worked as an Administrator for the CPSU team since March 2007.

Lian 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 Mel are jointly responsible for making safeguarding in sport information widely accessible through our website and social media.

They also coordinate the development of our e-newsletter and help to coordinate and run the CPSU webinars.

Melanie Addams
Information Officer

Mel previously worked for CPSU as an administrator and returned to the team to cover maternity leave in September 2016.

Mel is jointly responsible with Lian, for making safeguarding in sport information widely accessible through our website and social media. 

She also helps to produce content for our e-newsletter and run the CPSU webinars.

John Watson
Digital Producer

John sits in the NSPCC Digital Engagement Team and works with us to ensure the content on our digital platforms is easy to access and meets the needs of our audience.

John also acts as our link to the wider NSPCC and ensures that safeguarding resources and information are accessible through the CPSU website. 

CPSU Administration team

The CPSU administration team coordinate all enquiries that come into the unit, CPSU meetings, working groups, training, conferences and events run by the team.

Julyn Walker (as pictured) is responsible for managing the administration team and dealing with financial procedures within the CPSU.

Strategic work

Sport Safeguarding Partnership 

The CPSU was a driving force behind the creation of the Sport Safeguarding Partnership (SSP), which draws together the major players in UK youth sport with the common goal of improving safeguarding provision in the UK.

2016-2021 strategic plan

The aim of the strategic plan is to safeguard the well-being of all young people in and through sport and physical activity, ensuring everyone has a place to be safe, welcome, included and accessible.

It seeks to embed consistently high safeguarding standards and practices into the culture of the sport and physical activity sector at all levels – from national to local, and from professional to volunteer.

The key objectives of the strategic plan are:

  • to increase commitment and support by all involved in and through sport and physical activity organisations for improving safeguarding standards to ensure a consistent, measured high standard of practice
  • to improve the safeguarding of young people, with particular focus on those most at risk of discrimination, exclusion and abuse in sport and physical activity
  • to increase insight and knowledge about the well-being of young people in sport and physical activity and apply that learning to safeguarding practice

Take a look at our resource library for the full version of the strategic plan

History of the SSP

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 Sports Safeguarding Children Initiative (SSCI). The SSCI mid-project progress report (from October 2013) outlines all of those organisations involved and records the achievements of the group so far.

The group's name changed from the Sports Safeguarding Children Initiative to the Sport Safeguarding Partnership in 2015.