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The leading charity for supporting victims of child sexual abuse is being forced out of its London office because of soaring rent, and will go bust in six months unless urgent funding is secured.
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac), said the charity he founded in 1995 has six weeks to find new premises, after its current landlord raised the rent by 50 per cent; otherwise, it will become homeless.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was told of the charity’s plight during a two-hour meeting at its office last week. “I told Ms May we will be homeless because our landlord has pushed the rent up so much. I don’t know where we’re going to go,” Mr Saunders said. “We need help. Our costs are going up, our workload is going up, and we’re on the rocks. If we don’t find extra funding soon then in a few months’ time it could be curtains for Napac.”
The charity has played a leading role in influencing the Government’s wide-ranging child sexual abuse inquiry, but will have to cut staff and services if affordable premises are not found quickly.
“It’s very difficult for an organisation like ours to show exactly what kind of measurable impact we have; we’re much like the Samaritans in that respect, so it’s more difficult for us to tick the boxes of groups who consider funding us,” Mr Saunders said.
Napac’s income fell by more than £100,000 between 2011 and 2013 while the charity’s spending increased by £75,000, according to its accounts. Its workload increased dramatically over the same period: in 2011, the charity answered 2,902 calls and responded to 750 emails. By 2013 those figures had risen to 5,192 and 1,858 respectively. The charity recently opened a new office in Stockport, its first outside London, to help cater for the 300 per cent rise in people asking for support.