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Helping survivors in Nigeria find ‘healing and justice’

(CU)_Millions of people across the globe were confined to their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of last year, and this has increased the risk of harm and isolation for those affected by domestic abuse. In the United Kingdom alone, between the months of April and June last year, there was a 65 per cent increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, in comparison to the first quarter of that year. The situation has been much the same or worse, in other parts of the world, particularly in the African continent, where traditions, cultural beliefs and extreme levels of poverty are driving domestic abuse and violence against women.  

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has been taking a particular interest in helping women caught in violent relationships or who have been abused. Over the years the Duchess has been visiting and supporting centres around the world which were set up to assist victims of domestic abuse. Camilla has hosted receptions for charities, and attended round table discussions on the matter in Australia in 2015 and in New Zealand in 2019.

As part of her latest initiative, the Duchess has decided to become Patron of The Mirabel Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, the first sexual assault centre in the West African nation. The Centre, founded in 2013, has provided free medical and psychological support for amount 6,500 survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  

“It is a truly trailblazing organisation, supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault as they seek healing and justice,” Camilla said in a statement. “Their vital work means that women need no longer suffer in silence and I am deeply grateful to all Mirabel’s wonderful staff and volunteers.” As Patron of the organisation, she is expected to be working with Nigerian and British Nigerian women to provide the necessary support for the Centre, a safe refuge for victims in the poverty stricken nation, her office at Clarence House said. 

“It is an honour to welcome the Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall as our first Patron. We have followed her work with charities working in the SGBV space and have seen her passion and commitment to survivor support,” Mirabel Centre said on Twitter. 

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