Caring

Basmah Qazi

Duchess Camilla pens emotional letter to domestic abuse survivors

Duchess Camilla pens emotional letter to domestic abuse survivors

The Duchess of Cornwall has written an emotional letter to survivors of domestic and family violence.

The 72-year-old penned the note to show her support for the upcoming Stand Up to Domestic Abuse conference in the UK. She went into detail about the “shocking prevalence of domestic violence which affects so many people in this country and leaves some in fear of their lives”.

Camilla decided to lend her voice after she was approached by Rachel Williams, the organiser for the event whom she met through her work with charity SafeLives.

Rachel is a survivor of domestic violence, which she endured for 18 years at the hands of her husband.

Darren shot and beat her before committing suicide after she filed for divorce in 2011. A few weeks later, she lost her 16-year-old son Jack to suicide also.

The conference is set to take place on September 13 at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

Rachel’s story had a profound effect on the Duchess.

“It is a testament to her courage that she was able to write her book The Devil at Home to spread the word about the reality of living with domestic abuse,” she wrote in the letter.

The conference is the first of its kind to be run by survivors in Wales, as victims will work hand-in-hand with police and social services.

Camilla wrote: “I’m sure [the survivors’] stories will remind everyone that there is still much to be done, but I hope that the conference will also inspire positive steps to tackle [the abuse].”

The 72-year-old is a passionate advocate for those who have suffered domestic abuse, organising a reception in 2016 at Clarence House on the issue. She met Rachel and other survivors earlier that year and was pictured in tears.

Speaking to HELLO! magazine, Rachel says that having the Duchess’ support is “important” because it “brings it up to another level”.

“She is really encouraging me to get my voice out there, which in turn gives a platform for those who have not had their story heard before, which is why I’m doing the conference,” she said. “There is no shame for the victim and survivor. The shame lies at the perpetrator’s feet.”

If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au.