Earlier today The Duchess of Cornwall visited Bath-based charity VOICES to learn how they work with survivors and overcomers of abuse on their journey of recovery.
The Duchess, Patron of local charity, St John’s Foundation since 2019, has been a long -term advocate for raising awareness of and preventing domestic abuse.
Her Royal Highness’s visit to VOICES was to witness the holistic, early help and recovery work they do with women and their families. The charity also provides a platform for the voices of those impacted by domestic abuse to influence policy and provision of services. VOICES was founded and is led by people with lived experience of domestic abuse.
Upon arrival, Her Royal Highness was met by Ms Ursula Lindenberg, Director of Voices, and St John’s Chief Exec, David Hobdey, and Director, Louise Harvey. She was then introduced to key staff members of the charity, as well as the centre’s counsellors. The Duchess then sat down with a few of VOICE’s long-term clients to discuss their experience of the charity and how it had provided support for them.
Ursula, Director of Voices said “HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has been a staunch champion of the rights of women and girls to live free from abuse and violence. We are honoured by her visit and delighted to show her the work VOICES does to help people to recover and thrive, and to enable survivors to influence policy and improve support for others.”
Previously in March 2017, in conjunction with Boots UK, The Duchess of Cornwall launched the Wash Bag Project, a scheme that provides a wash bag of toiletries to people across the UK who have been affected by rape and sexual abuse. The wash bags are provided by Boots UK and are given to Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) clients who have undergone a forensic examination, providing them with some comfort at a difficult time.
More recently, in October 2021, Her Royal Highness spoke at a reception for the ‘Shameless! Festival’. During her speech, The Duchess said “This country has been appalled and saddened by the loss of women to violence this year… We do not, in any way, hold all men responsible for sexual violence. But we do need them all on board to tackle it. After all, rapists are not born, they are constructed. And it takes an entire community – male and female – to dismantle the lies, words and actions that foster a culture in which sexual assault is seen as normal, and in which it shames the victim.”
Prior to her visit to Voices, The Duchess had visited Roundhill Primary School in Southdown in support of another project close to her heart – that of improving oracy and literacy in children. Touchingly, the children treated her to a rendition of a song written especially for her visit called ‘We Are Proud of Our School’