On Wednesday 21st February, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited Women’s Aid member refuge service MK Act as part of the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Milton Keynes.
The Duchess of Cornwall was taken on a tour of the refuge where she met current residents and their children. In the service’s playroom, the children presented the Duchess with home-made arts and crafts.
The Duchess of Cornwall also met Carole Loxton, who founded the first women’s refuge in Milton Keynes over 40 years ago, and spoke to the refuge’s staff, volunteers and trustees about the life-transforming work they do at the service.
Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit and gave a speech thanking the staff for the “wonderful work you do. These women and children couldn’t survive without all your help.”
The Duchess also spoke about her commitment to ensure that domestic abuse is brought out from behind closed doors: “the more it’s spoken about the more people out there will really know what’s happening.”
The Duchess has long supported and championed the work of domestic abuse charities, like Women’s Aid and its member services. She has raised awareness of domestic abuse to help survivors of violence against women and girls both in the UK and internationally.
Andrea Vincent, chair of trustees for MK Act, said:
“Our line of work is not popular, domestic violence as a gendered crime is often hidden and when it sees the light of day many wish it to remain behind closed doors. We are pleased that Her Royal Highness chose our charity as one to visit here in Milton Keynes.
“The time the Duchess took with survivors and their children during her visit will be a treasured memory for them. Her Royal Highness has shown understanding and great empathy for which we thank her.
“Our national network is under threat but we at MK Act are truly fortunate to have the unswerving support of Milton Keynes Council for many years. We are well aware that not all refuges are as fortunate.”
An estimated 1.3 million women experienced domestic abuse last year. Domestic abuse services are struggling to meet demand; an estimated 21,084 referrals to all refuge services in England were declined in 2017/18, averaging over 400 referrals declined each week. Despite welcome injections of emergency funding from the government over recent years, over half (57%) of responding organisations to Women’s Aid’s 2018 Annual Survey were running an area of their domestic abuse service without any dedicated funding in 2017/18.
MK Act is a charity in Milton Keynes which works with over 100 families’ every day to help them move on from fear and abuse. They have provided safe emergency accommodation for women and their children escaping domestic abuse for over 40 years. Last year, MK Act support over 1500 people through its refuge and outreach support services. It is a member of Women’s Aid, a national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. You can support MK Act to continue their life-saving work by donating online today.