Freedom from Torture | The Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees

Sue Berelowitz (Chair)

Sue is a Visiting Professor and member of the Advisory Board at Huddersfield University Secure Societies Institute. Sue was Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England and Chief Executive of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner from 2008-2015 and in that role chaired a groundbreaking national inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children. Sue was made a Visiting Professor in the Institute for Applied Social Research at Bedfordshire University from 2012-2017 in recognition of this work. She is a founder and chair of the Hans Albrecht Foundation, dedicated to promoting children’s human rights and a member of the ESRC Impact Acceleration Steering Committee at Sussex University. Sue has had a long career in local government children’s services and was Deputy Director of Children’s Services for West Sussex County Council before becoming Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England. Sue has sat on numerous boards including as Chair of the Children and Young People’s sub-group of the UK National Preventative Mechanism for the Prevention of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment; the National Strategic Coordinating Group, Operation Hydrant (police investigations into historic child sexual abuse); independent advisor to the Crown Prosecution Service/ ACPO National Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel and the Ministerial Advisory Board on Deaths in Custody. Her particular areas of interest and expertise are children’s human rights, child protection, children’s mental health and children in the criminal justice system. Sue is a nationally recognised expert on child sexual abuse.

Sue has a Masters in Social Work from Sussex University and is a Speech and Language Therapist. She was born in Durban, South Africa and immigrated to the UK in 1974 because of her abhorrence of the apartheid regime.

Melanie Essex (Vice-Chair)

Melanie Essex worked at the BBC for 23 years, where as Executive Editor at BBC News, she ran Outreach projects, including School Report, Democracy in Action and Schools Question Time. She was an Executive in BBC Learning and prior to that had a wide range of other media experience including Political Producer on Newsnight. Melanie is Vice-chair, Chair of Policy Committee, and member of the Clinical and Legal Governance, and Nominations committees.

Gillian Fawcett (Treasurer)

Gillian Fawcett is Head of Public Sector Policy at ACCA Global, and was a member of the Audit Commission on implementation of the Human Rights Act. She has been a Senior Fellow at the Office for Public Management, and a trustee of the Legal Action Group. Gillian is Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Fundraising Committee.

Peter Atfield

Peter Atfield is Interim HR Director at Forum for the Future. Prior to that his roles include HR Director at Amnesty International's International Secretariat for 14 years, and for CLIC Sargent and ChildLine for about seven years each. He was chair of the Charities HR Network 2011-12. Peter has been chair and a member of a number of boards, governing bodies and committees in the voluntary and community sectors in Harrow. He is a member of four committees:  Policy, Finance and Fundraising, Clinical and Legal Governance, and Nominations.

Raj Chada

Raj Chada is a lawyer with wide experience, including working in Human Rights under Article 10 and right of free speech. He previously worked for Amnesty International as a lawyer, and was an intern in the Loyola Death Penalty Resource Centre. He has been Leader of Camden Council and was Executive Member for Housing prior to becoming leader. He has extensive knowledge of the NHS and has been a Non-exec Director at the Royal Free Hospital.

Serge Eric

Serge Eric has experience in industry in implementation and testing of software and electronic systems and telecommunication systems, both in Africa and in the UK. He has also worked in the Citizens Advice Bureau as a volunteer and Gateway Assessor. He has worked extensively as a volunteer in Freedom from Torture since 2007 and led on setting up Service User Groups and establishing the programme of work in 'Survivors Speak Out'. Serge is a member of the Policy Committee.

Fiona Goudie

Fiona Goudie is a practising NHS clinical psychologist with 30 years’ experience, and has been a Clinical Director for the past 10 years. As Clinical Director for Strategic Development at Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, she leads for the Trust on a number of cross city health and social care programmes, which involve partnerships with health, social care and third sector organisations. Recently she was awarded the NHS Leadership Academy Award in Executive Healthcare Leadership. Fiona is a member of the Clinical and Legal Governance Committee.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson was a General Practitioner for 30 years, latterly in a Practice with a selected clientele comprised largely of asylum seekers, many of whom had been tortured. He has educational experience as a postgraduate tutor for GPs and as a GP trainer. He gained experience of organisational governance as a governor of the Pennine Care Foundation Trust and as a Lead Fundholding Practitioner. Michael has experience in clinical governance through his work as a panellist for the General Medical Council and as an assessor for the National Clinical Assessment Service. He is a member of the Clincial and Legal Governance Committee.

Charlie Middleton

Charlie Middleton is a business leader who has successfully managed and developed a wide range of businesses in different environments, with experience in the commercial, charity, voluntary and social enterprise sectors. Most recently he was the Managing Director at Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading ethical bank and is now a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist. Charlie is a member of Finance and Fundraising Committee.

Sonali Naik

Sonali Naik has worked in the field of immigration and asylum for over 25 years, both in the community and in practice as a barrister at Garden Court Chambers. After being called to the Bar, she worked at the Refugee Legal Centre (later known as Refugee Migrant Justice) as an asylum appeals caseworker. She has been on the Liberty Council since 2007 and has served as a Liberty board member. Sonali was a board member, then Chair of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and is a trustee of the Immigrants’ Aid Trust. She is a member of the Policy Committee.

Sarah Taylor Peace

Sarah Taylor Peace is a fundraising and campaigns leader with over 20 years’ experience in UK and international NGOs. As Global Director at leading poverty-fighting charity CARE International she is charged with increasing CARE’s income to $1 billion a year and delivering advocacy victories for women and girls in the world’s poorest communities. Sarah led the public side of the very successful Time to Change campaign which has significantly improved the lives of people living with mental health. She is a member of the Finance and Fundraising Committee.

Rebecca Wright

Rebecca Wright is a criminal barrister. She has worked as a human rights lawyer, and in Egypt ran a strategic litigation programme spanning North Africa. She also lived and/or worked in countries including Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Tajikistan and Qatar. Many of her cases have involved complaints of torture and state mistreatment. Rebecca is a member of the Policy Committee.

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