On 23 August 2019, the NAPAC Board of Trustees learnt through a media enquiry about a serious incident in 2008 involving Peter Saunders, the charity’s founder and spokesperson. Following publication of the media story on 25 August, Peter Saunders was suspended by the Trustees to allow a process of investigation to be undertaken into the behaviours and actions of the Founder of NAPAC since August 2019. We also informed the Home Office and the Charity Commission.
Prior to 23 August 2019, the CEO and the current Board of Trustees were entirely unaware of the 2008 incident. Peter Saunders had not informed the Board or the CEO of the initial media enquiry that he had received from the journalist involved. He had however informed IICSA (the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) of the media enquiry and offered his resignation from the IICSA Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel, which was subsequently accepted.
Following the completion of that process of investigation by the Board, Peter Saunders agreed that in order to allow NAPAC to focus on supporting survivors, he would step down from his role as Founder and Spokesperson, and will no longer be a NAPAC employee.
Peter Saunders set up NAPAC at a time when there was no national support organisation for adult survivors of childhood abuse. He worked tirelessly for more than two decades to enable NAPAC to become the influential organisation it is today. That work, alongside the dedication of countless volunteers and staff over the years, means that NAPAC is now the UK’s leading provider of services for adult survivors of all forms of childhood abuse. The volunteers and staff at NAPAC work to transform the lives of survivors. This year we are on track to answer around 12,000 calls on our support line.
An external governance review by an independent expert was commissioned on 27 August 2019 to fully understand what governance systems existed at NAPAC at the time of the incident in 2008 and how they were applied. It also assessed NAPAC’s current governance systems, policies and processes and if they could be further strengthened. That review was published on 13 November 2019. It highlighted serious failings in the organisation’s governance in 2008 and recognised that the organisation in its current form has done everything to ensure robust governance now and into the future. A statement and the full findings of that review can be read here
Statement and NAPAC external governance review -13 November 2019
The Board of Trustees and CEO today are wholly different from the 2008 Board and CEO, and the governance, policies and procedures of the charity have been hugely strengthened and improved. However, we are committed to continuously improving our governance.
Many of our volunteers, staff and trustees are themselves survivors. We remain unwavering in our commitment to any adult who experienced abuse in childhood and their friends and families.