The Duchess of Cornwall has visited several centres offering support to women and men who have been the victims of sexual violence today, just hours after saying that she will strive to ‘shine a light on the violence hiding in the dark corners of our society’. Camilla’s pledge came in a piece she wrote as in the Daily Mail about her work with victims of rape and sexual violence. And her words, and her engagements today, highlighted a scheme that the Duchess of Cornwall has pioneered to help those who suffer such attacks.
Today, Camilla visited a Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Croydon where she thanked staff for the support they give to victims and praised them for their professionalism. She also spoke to the Home Secretary during her visit with Theresa May discussing how police are now better equipped to deal with people who have been attacked and abused.
The fear of coming forward to report sexual violence was alluded to by the Duchess of Cornwall in her article today when she wrote ‘Rape and sexual violence: these are words that make most of us feel uncomfortable’. Camilla went on to discuss how they are issues which weren’t always talked about openly or easily.
The Duchess of Cornwall also visited The Haven in Whitechapel today. It is one of three specialist referral centres in London offering support to those affected by sexual violence. It has specialist nurses who help victims asked to give forensic evidence and it also provides counselling.
While there, Camilla met a survivor of sexual abuse, Mia, and also heard from staff about the support they can offer.
Last year there were 88, 219 rapes and other sexual offences reported to police – a rise of 37%. The Duchess of Cornwall calls these figures ‘truly horrifying’.
Camilla has spent a lot of time in the last five years visiting centres and organisations that help victims of sexual violence and focus on providing support and care that will allow those affected to rebuild their lives. She has heard about experiences in the UK and while on overseas engagements as well and the Duchess of Cornwall describes how this work has inspired her to develop her own scheme to help victims.
Camilla is pioneering an initiative to provide washbags and toiletries to women at rape crisis centres. The Duchess of Cornwall describes this as a ‘small something to make women and girls who go through such a terrible ordeal just a little bit more human again’.
And today she saw some more of these packs being put together and visited Nelsons which is helping make up these washbags which are currently distributed in London but which the Duchess of Cornwall hopes can be rolled out across the country.
In her piece, Camilla said while there are no quick fixes we can all think of small ways to help people who have been affected by sexual violence. And she ended her piece by saying that ‘’we must try to build a future where we will simply not tolerate rape and sexual abuse any longer’’.