The Duchess of Cornwall dreams of living in a society in which women are “free from fear”.
The 74-year-old duchess – who has been married Prince Charles since 2005 – voiced her support for women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence during a speech at Clarence House on Tuesday (25.01.22), when guests from Refuge – the domestic violence charity – where invited to the royal residence to celebrate the organisation’s 50th anniversary.
She said: “Many of you were not even born then, but those of us who were around remember how different life was for women and, above all, for women living with abuse.
“They were, effectively, prisoners in their own homes; held captive by the one person they should have been able to trust.
“Fifty years ago, there was almost no support available: no helplines, no counselling, nowhere to go, no specialist laws, and, perhaps most painfully, very little public understanding of the issue. It was a taboo subject: what happened at home stayed at home.
“But suddenly, with the creation of the first refuge, domestic abuse began to come into the national consciousness. People were, at last, hearing the message that it was wrong to use violence against your partner and that, if the victim chose to leave, she would be helped every step of the way.”
The duchess acknowledged that some progress has been made in tackling domestic violence over the last 50 years.
However, she observed that far too many women are still experiencing domestic abuse.
In her speech – which has been published by People – she explained: “Today, then, we are marking rather than celebrating your 50th anniversary. Let us use it as a milestone to galvanise and inspire us all towards a world where women and children can live in safety, free from fear.”