Leading anti-smacking campaigner jailed for abuse of boy, 12

A key figure in campaigns to ban smacking has been jailed for sexually abusing a child in the 1960s.

Peter Newell, a former Chair of the Children are Unbeatable Alliance, admitted to five indecent and serious sexual assaults on a twelve-year-old boy.

The Charity Commission says it was made aware of allegations against Newell in 2016 but it has not been reported in the press until recently, amidst wider reports of sexual abuse at a number of household name charities.

Leading voice

Newell, 77, was sentenced last month at Blackfriars Crown Court and has been jailed for six years and eight months.

The Metropolitan Police said the abuse took place between 1965 and 1968 at a number of locations in south and east England.

Throughout his career, Newell has been a leading voice in campaigns to criminalise parents who smack their children.

In 2007, Newell and his wife Rachel Hodgkin co-authored Unicef’s ‘Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child’.

Influenced lawmakers

During his time as Chair of the Children are Unbeatable Alliance, he lobbied politicians in Scotland and Wales ahead of their current plans to ban smacking.

Up until May 2016, Newell acted as co-ordinator of APPROACH, another anti-smacking organisation, which received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the NSPCC and Save the Children between 2012 and 2016.

APPROACH also received funding from Barnardos in four of those years, and from Unicef in 2014 and 2015.

The latest accounts for 2017 show that APPROACH has only received funding for its overseas activities. Barnardos and the NSPCC are not listed as donors.

‘No knowledge’

A spokesman for Unicef said: “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.”

Barnardos also denied any knowledge of the charges against Newell, adding that it no longer funds the Children are Unbeatable Alliance.

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