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The Queen Consort visits our Domestic Abuse service

14 October 2022

On Thursday 13 October 2022, The Queen Consort met the pioneering Domestic Abuse team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Her Majesty met with the health-based domestic abuse Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and staff working in the field at the maternity unit.

On Thursday 13 October 2022, The Queen Consort met the pioneering Domestic Abuse team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Her Majesty met with the health-based domestic abuse Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and staff working in the field at the maternity unit.

Her Majesty continues to be an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, and has supported this cause for many years. In 2020, in her former role as The Duchess of Cornwall, Her Majesty became patron of SafeLives, is a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.

Our Domestic Abuse model is an innovative example of a coordinated community response, where the Acute Provider Hospital works in close partnership with specialist agencies Standing Together, Victim Support and Galop. The aim is that any survivor coming through the organisation is able to access confidential help, advice, and specialist advocacy to keep them and any dependants safe. The service also offers users support with finances, housing, and uptake of civil remedies.

National Statistics estimates 33.1% per cent of those who experience partner abuse went on to receive medical attention following the abuse.

Our Trust previously worked with Standing Together, SafeLives and other partners in developing a ‘whole health’ approach to domestic abuse, contributing to the Pathfinder project, which seeks to create a consistent healthcare response across acute health, mental health and primary care, in collaboration with local domestic abuse services.

Suzanne Jacob OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives said: “The NHS has a unique opportunity to identify and offer support to victims of domestic abuse who may otherwise be left at risk of harm, and completely hidden from view from any other service. The domestic abuse model at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust is a superb example of services working together to provide a ‘whole health’ joined-up response. In the Government’s Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan (2022) victims rated IDVAs as the most effective of any support available to them—they play a vital role in supporting them to reach safety and connecting them with the range of support they need to regain control of their lives. We encourage healthcare systems across the UK to replicate this model, so that more victims of domestic abuse can be safer sooner.”

Dr Charlotte Cohen, Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine and HIV and Trust Domestic Abuse Lead, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the pioneering work of our Domestic Abuse team, with the support of Her Majesty The Queen Consort, recognising the impact of our wider organisational partnerships. Survivors today felt empowered to tell their stories and demonstrate the true value of having a whole-health response embedded within our Trust. On behalf of my team, we are delighted that Her Majesty has helped raise awareness on the critical difference health can make in tackling domestic abuse.”

Vanessa Sloane, Deputy Chief Nurse, said: “It was a great honour to have The Queen Consort visit today, our staff and patients were delighted to meet her. She has helped us to recognise the incredible work of all those supporting victims of domestic abuse in these incredibly challenging times, as well as the need for a safe place and support for these victims. We are very thankful to Her Majesty for her support and encouragement.”

Her Majesty also met privately with three domestic abuse survivors who have used the services at our Trust.