REPRESENTATIVES from The Women’s Centre Cornwall — a charity providing specialist support to women and girls living with the impact of abuse — attended a reception at Buckingham Palace recently in recognition of the centre’s vital work.

The event marked the relaunch of Her Majesty Queen Camilla’s wash bags project which was started in 2013 to provide survivors of sexual assault with toiletries to use following a forensic examination at sexual referral centres.

The invitation to join the event followed Her Majesty’s visit to The Women’s Centre Cornwall last July when she was introduced to the charity’s services. These include one-to-one and peer support, as well as specific services for women facing multiple disadvantages such as homelessness and discrimination.

Dina Holder, community engagement manager at The Women’s Centre Cornwall, travelled to London for the special reception.

Dina said: “We are incredibly proud to be invited to Buckingham Palace and stand alongside brilliant projects and charities from across the country that are working to end violence against women and girls.

“More than one in four women have been raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. By lending support to the issue of sexual and domestic abuse, Her Majesty is helping us to further bring to light the realities experienced by too many women and girls.”

Dina was accompanied at the event by Steph, one of the Centre’s DIVAS, a group working to improve sexual and domestic abuse support services for women with learning disabilities, neurodivergence and autism.

The specialist group is rolling out Healthy Relationships Awareness programmes across Cornwall and as part of this recently trained staff from First Light, the commissioned Domestic Abuse Service in Cornwall. The DIVAS are also looking to help other Rape Crisis Centres and Domestic Abuse Services develop an experts-by-experience group based on the DIVAS model.

Women and girls throughout Cornwall can access support from The Women’s Centre Cornwall at no cost to them and benefit from a unique ‘women supporting women’ approach. The charity recognises that women and girls are the experts in their own lives and experiences and stands alongside them in a safe space as they restore their personal power.