Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, visited Royal Stoke University Hospital to learn about the vital role our Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and the health sector plays in tackling domestic abuse.

The Duchess met our front line staff, as well as staff from SafeLives, alongside survivors who spoke of their experiences of domestic abuse and the support we had provided.

One survivor told her: “If it wasn’t for the Arch’s IDVA team, I wouldn’t be here now. They saved my life.”

The Duchess has spoken out several times about breaking the ‘corrosive silence’ and making sure victims get the right help.

Sue Barron, Senior Domestic Abuse Practitioner at Arch, said: “The Duchess was very welcoming and made the women feel very comfortable, they were able to talk freely to her about their experiences.

“She listened to their stories and showed genuine concern and empathy towards them. Some of the women felt that the opportunity to meet with her had given them closure.

“I feel privileged to have worked with the women that attended on this day and want to acknowledge the strength they have to enable them to become survivors. I am very proud of the A&E project and am delighted that it is being acknowledged at this level.”

Diane Lea, Chief Executive of Arch said:  “We are enormously grateful that Her Royal Highness is highlighting the role that IDVAs play. The support they offer in hospitals to both victims and other health professionals is essential in our daily mission to end domestic abuse.”

Diana Barran, Chief Executive of SafeLives, said: “We know 80% of survivors never call the police. We need professionals in places like hospitals to reach people sooner and help them become safe.”

The visit was part of Tuesday’s visit to Stoke-on-Trent, where the Duchess and Prince of Wales visited the City highlighting local causes.