Duchess of Cornwall meets sexual abuse survivors during Crawley rape crisis centre visit

The Duchess of Cornwall in Sussex today
The Duchess of Cornwall in Sussex today

A Crawley organisation set up to support women who have been sexually abused welcomed the Duchess of Cornwall for a special reception today (Thursday, October 17).

The Rape Crisis Centre for Surrey and Sussex (RCSAS) opened in June, 2015, offering women specialised counselling among other support services.

The Duchess met privately with survivors of sexual abuse before joining a reception with staff, volunteers and representatives from affiliated organisations.

Centre chief executive Yvonne Traynor said: “The RCSAS Crawley centre exists to fill the gaps existing in the current survivor support network in East Surrey, West and Mid Sussex.

“It aims to bring specialist services to any female survivors of sexual abuse in the local area – including those hard-to-reach-groups.”

The centre is part of the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to expand specialist violence against women and girls (VAWG) organisations across the country.

Crawley’s centre was set up four years ago following the success of a centre in Croydon opened.

Today’s visit to Crawley marked the Duchess’s tenth anniversary of her first visit to a rape crisis centre, having met representatives of the Croydon centre in 2009.

Since then, the Duchess has worked extensively to promote the work of similar organisations.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “The stories she heard during these visits have left Her Royal Highness with a strong desire to raise awareness about rape and sexual abuse and to try to help those affected.”

The Duchess has toured several venues in Sussex today.

She began with a visit to Chailey to open a new activity centre. Click here for pictures.

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, of which she is president, was her next stop before she headed to Crawley. Click here for the full report.

Bolney Wine Estate completed her tour. Click here for more.