THE Duchess of Cornwall took the time to speak to survivors of domestic abuse during a trip to Reading this month.
On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) welcomed Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to tour one of its refuges, in Reading.
It is here where BWA support up to 18 women and children fleeing domestic abuse.
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The Duchess of Cornwall was taken on a tour of the refuge where she spoke to survivors and their children about their journey to refuge and their personal stories.
She also spoke to the refuge staff about their life-changing work.
The Duchess of Cornwall also heard stories of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on survivors and the need for critical services such as the Rail to Refuge scheme.
BWA has seen a threefold increase in demand for refuge space since the start of the pandemic and a doubling across Berkshire in numbers of survivors accessing our other community based services.
During the visit to the Refuge HRH was given a scrap book made by the children staying in the refuge with their mothers.
The scrap book was made especially for HRH and contained drawings and stories about their experiences.
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A 5-year-old boy staying at the refuge gave HRH the scrap book.
Andrea West, BWA Chief Executive, said: “At this time when we have seen a dramatic increase in demand for our services it was a real privilege to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to our refuge and for her to be able to hear first-hand from survivors and frontline staff.
“It was wonderful to see Her Royal Highness clearly very interested in hearing from survivors and their journeys and experiences.”
A domestic abuse survivor living in the BWA refuge added: “The staff are just amazing here, you have given us a home and I wanted to tell the Duchess about how this has completely changed our lives, you’ve saved us.”