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29th November 2017
We were very honoured yesterday to welcome HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to visit a group of survivors and Idvas working in Stoke Royal Infirmary, as well as some terrific members of the clinical team. Perhaps not the Royal engagement that was most in the headlines yesterday, but a very important one all the same.
Some of you will know that the Duchess has decided to try and raise awareness about domestic abuse and has worked to bring together different organisations and leaders in the sector.
But, without wanting to put words into her mouth, it is meeting survivors and hearing their experience that gives her the resolve to continue her focus.
Yesterday, she met three very special and different women all of whom had been supported by the hospital Idvas. All spoke of the lifeline – literally – that this gave them. She heard about the advice, the support and the care that they had received – for them and for their children.
She heard about the continuing support offered by Arch, the wonderful charity who manages the domestic abuse services locally, including crucially from their peers. And she heard about how each one of them wanted to give back, share their story and help others escape the suffering that they had experienced.
Only 1 in 5 survivors will tell the police about domestic abuse. For the 4 in 5, and their children, we need a qualified and confident domestic abuse team located where survivors seek help – and a hospital is a unique place to do this.
Currently there are only a small percentage of hospitals providing this kind of help. We hope very much that the introduction of the new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, and the accompanying package of non-legislative measures will start to change this. Domestic abuse is a public health problem first and a criminal justice problem second. If you were living with domestic abuse today, who would you rather speak to?