Q&A with NAPAC
Question and answer session with Peter Saunders, the founder and Chief Executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). This registered charity is based in the UK and you can visit their site at http://www.napac.org.uk.
How did NAPAC come into existence and what are its aims and objectives?
I needed help as an adult survivor of child abuse - I couldn't find any. I realised there was no national charity for abuse survivors and so I set one up!
In a nutshell we are here to support survivors of child abuse and will do whatever that takes within our limited (financial) means. We actively break that silence/isolation and try to give survivors a voice.
NAPAC's Mission Statement:
- Respond to the distress caused in adulthood by ill treatment and/or neglect in childhood.
- Establish a national information line and postal service for people requiring advice and information about help available to overcome the continuing impact of childhood abuse in adulthood.
- Provide support, training, information and resources to persons and organisations supporting people who have experienced ill treatment and/or neglect in childhood.
- Raise public awareness of the continuing impact of childhood abuse in adulthood.
- Effectively campaign to alleviate the impact of child abuse in adulthood.
What types of issues do survivors contact Napac with?
All sorts but all to do with absue in childhood. We cover all forms of abuse though sexual abuse is by far the most common mentioned.
We also hear from partners, friends, relatives and others affected by abuse.
What services do you provide to survivors of child abuse?
We provide a national free phone support line (Support Line 0800 085 3330), email and letter answering service (NAPAC, 42 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3NH)
We send out resource packs, booklists etc and give details of local support OR on-line forums if that is what the caller wants.
We don't tell people what to do. We are not 'tea and sympathy'. We believe survivors are strong but often they don't realise that! We empower. We explore ways forward. We assist in helping take the first steps towards healing. We support them if they decide they want to report their abuser/s. We just try to be here for people and napac is almost entirely survivor-led.
On your website, you have a section dedicated to "Survivor's Story's". Could you share with us why you feel it is so important for survivors to have a voice.
Abuse is dis-empowering and the misuse (of the very worst kind) of power and control. The abused child's voice is usually silenced by threats, intimidation and cunning. We, the victims, often grow up feeling we did something wrong. We carry the burden that rightly should be firmly on the shoulder of the abuser and giving people the right of expression to unshoulder that burden can be very empowering. We do not impose our, or anyone else's 'voice' on others but each one of us has the right to tell of our experience. It can help.....it may help others. It may not. How people use that voice is up to them.
If you were able to give one piece of advice to an adult survivor of child abuse, what advice would you give?
I'm very reluctant to give advice. It implies that I know best. I don't.
What works for one person may not for another. If I HAD to give some advice it would be to say, believe in yourself, believe, (because it's a fact) that child abuse is NEVER the fault of the child and believe that we can all heal and move on. Also believe that we are beautiful creatures created by God! And we weren't born to be abused!
In your experience, would you say that public perceptions towards the impact of child abuse on surviving adults has changed over recent years?
I hope so. Slowly but surely.
But still too many abusers out there who have power.
Do you believe that, in the UK, there are enough services to support adult survivors?
....a definite NO!
How do you see NAPAC evolving? Are there other services you would like to provide in the future?
We've been around ten years plus so hopefully we are here to stay. We must expand as the demand for our services greatly outstrips what we can provide.
Fantasies for the future include having hundreds of volunteers answering calls, emails and letters. Drop-in centres around the country for those who need that. A legal service perhaps that will really get the abusers and their deniers and apologists on the run! Real compensation for those who missed out on a proper education/childhood because of what happened to them. Some safe houses for survivors who just need to get away from it all for a while.....I could go on but you get the gist!
What do you consider to be NAPAC's greatest success?
Being here after 10/11 years. Helping thousands of people. Attracting a fantastic group of volunteers and supporters. We are truly blessed...just need more money!
If you would like to suggest a Q&A with an activist organization working to raise awareness and end sexual violence, please contact us!