July 24, 2023
The Queen highlights vital work to support women in Cornwall who have experienced sexual and domestic abuse.
On Thursday 13th July 2023, Queen Camilla visited The Women's Centre Cornwall to learn about our vital work supporting women and girls living with the impact of sexual and domestic abuse.
The royal visit included an introduction to our services which include one-to-one and peer support, as well as specific services for women facing multiple disadvantages such as homelessness and discrimination. The Queen, who has campaigned against abuse for a number of years, also met with young women who shared some of the poetry and artwork they have created at the centre and joined our volunteer support workers in a tree-planting ceremony.
Our organisation was chosen for the Queen's visit in recognition of the positive impact we make on the lives of women and girls. Demand for our specialist sexual and domestic abuse support has more than doubled in the last 3 years and by +30% in the last year alone. Women and girls throughout Cornwall can access our support at no cost to them and benefit from a unique ‘women supporting women’ approach. We recognise that women and girls are the experts in their own lives and experiences and stand alongside them in a safe space as they restore their personal power.
Queen Camilla met with Sue Bursnall, our Prison Link Worker based in our closest prison, 150 miles away in Gloucestershire. She also met one of our volunteer peer mentors and heard about her time in prison and the support she now offers to women in the community.
Three members of staff discussed our Specialist Support Service with Her Majesty, including our Sorella peer support for women living with the impact of sexual violence, our Campfire forum for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse and a staff member's journey from service user to volunteer and onto paid work.
Our Young Empowered Women's group courageously shared some of their experiences with Queen Camilla before she joined us in planting an apple tree in our re-wilded garden.
The visit coincided with our Walk My Walk campaign, launched in partnership with Safer Cornwall. Part of the national initiative to end violence against women and girls, women are invited to anonymously share what they have experienced on the streets of Cornwall in a survey and have their voices heard.
The results will be included in national data that will inform the Home Office about the reality of women's experiences on our streets when it comes to misogyny, violence, harassment and abuse.
Have your say and fill out the survey here.
Claire Davies, Chair of the Board of Trustees , said: “We are incredibly proud to welcome Her Majesty The Queen to The Women’s Centre Cornwall. By lending support to the issue of sexual and domestic abuse, Queen Camilla is helping us to further bring to light the realities experienced by too many women and girls. Speaking out about these issues helps reduce the stigmas associated with abuse by allowing women to create connections and know they are not alone. We hope the visit will raise awareness about the support we offer. We are here for all women and girls, regardless of age or background, who are living with the impact of any form of sexual or domestic abuse and sexual violence at any time in their lives.”