THE Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Rosemary Shand has become the first patron of Nigeria’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), The Mirabel Centre.
This was disclosed in a statement released by the Centre on Tuesday.
“The Mirabel Centre is delighted to announce that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has become the Centre’s first patron,” it read.
According to the statement, the duchess expressed pleasure at being a part of the Centre, which she described as a trailblazing organisation.
“I am delighted to become Patron of the Mirabel Centre in Lagos. It is a truly trailblazing organisation, supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault as they seek healing and justice.
“Their vital work means that women need no longer suffer in silence and I am deeply grateful to all Mirabel’s wonderful staff and volunteers,” it read.
Welcoming the Duchess into the organisation, founder of the Centre Itoro Eze-Anaba described the partnership as an honour and expressed pleasure at the development.
“It is an honour to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as our first Patron. We are pleased that the Duchess has agreed to be our patron,” she said.
Eze-Anaba also noted that there had been an increase in survivors of sexual violence and expressed hope that the backing of the Duchess would positively impact sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.
“We have seen a huge number of children and women coming forward to report cases of sexual assault and rape. Our youngest survivor is a 3-month-old baby and the oldest, an 80-year-old woman. We are confident that the support of The Duchess will make a difference,” she said.
The United Kingdom’s (UK) High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing CB also expressed delight over the development, which she said would help showcase the role of the Mirabel Centre in supporting survivors of sexual violence.
“I am absolutely delighted that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to become Patron of the Mirabel Centre in Lagos Nigeria. In this role, she will help showcase the essential work the Mirabel Centre does to support sufferers of sexual assault and domestic abuse,” she said.
The Mirabel Centre was founded in July 2013 to support survivors of sexual violence, including persons with disabilities.
It is Nigeria’s first SARC Centre and has provided free medical services to over six thousand survivors since its inception.