A children’s rights activist has been jailed for six years and eight months for sexually abusing a boy in the 1960s.
Peter Newell was the former co-ordinator of the Association for the Protection of All Children charity.
The 77-year-old from Wood Green, north London, was sentenced last month at Blackfriars Crown Court.
He admitted five indecent and serious sexual assaults on a child under 16.
The Association for the Protection of All Children, or Approach, says its objectives are to prevent cruelty and maltreatment of children and advance public knowledge in the UK and abroad.
It says its focus is on protecting children from “physical punishment and all other injurious… whether inside or outside the home”.
Approach operates through the Children Are Unbeatable! Alliance in the UK and the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children.
There is no suggestion the south London-based charity knew about Newell’s behaviour, which occurred before he was employed there.
In 2015 Approach brought a complaint to Europe’s top human rights watchdog against France and six other EU countries over its failure to explicitly ban smacking children.
Newell was listed as Approach’s co-ordinator in its accounts on the Charity Commission website, although the most recent document says he stood down from the role in May 2016.
According to the accounts, for the five years from 2012 to 2016, Approach received hundreds of thousands of pounds in income from the NSPCC and Save the Children, as well as other organisations abroad and a private donor. Barnardo’s provided funding in four of those years, while income from Unicef came in 2014 and 2015.
The latest accounts for 2017 show Approach only received funding for its overseas activities, and the NSPCC and Barnardo’s were not listed as having made any contributions.
None of Approach’s funders are believed to have been aware of Newell’s actions.
Beneficiaries not at risk
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said Newell’s offences, which were first reported to it in March 2016, started when his victim was aged 12.
Police said they took place between 1965 and 1968 at a number of addresses and locations in south and east England, including London.
Newell pleaded guilty on 2 January to two charges of serious sexual assault between May 1966 and May 1968 and three charges of indecent assault committed between May 1965 and May 1968.
The Charity Commission said it was informed by Approach about the allegation against Newell in 2016.
It said: “We have been in correspondence with the charity on this matter since 2016 to ensure the charity’s safeguarding procedures are robust and that there are policies in place to protect its beneficiaries.
“The charity has confirmed that it has safeguarding policies and procedures in place which are being kept under review and that the charity and the trustees have very limited contact with children and that there is no suggestion that the charity’s beneficiaries were or are at risk.”
In 2007, Newell co-authored the Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child for Unicef.
Unicef said it has “zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse”.
A spokesperson added: “We are deeply shocked to hear of the arrest of Peter Newell. We had no knowledge of this crime when he worked as a Unicef consultant 10 years ago. Unicef has since set in place strong procedures to vet staff and consultants.”
Barnardo’s said it was “one of over a 100 organisations that supported the Alliance”.
“We have no evidence that anyone at Barnardo’s was aware of these terrible charges and we no longer fund the Alliance,” a spokesman said.