Duchess of Cornwall becomes patron of Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre

Credit: PA

The Duchess of Cornwall has been announced as patron of Nigeria’s first sexual assault referral centre.

Camilla, who has a long-standing commitment to highlighting the work of domestic abuse and sexual assault charities in the UK and overseas, described the Mirabel Centre in Lagos as a “truly trailblazing organisation”.

It was founded by Itoro Eze-Anaba in 2013 with the aim of offering a safe place for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

It has provided free medical and psychosocial support to more than 6,450 survivors, ranging in age from a three-month-old baby to an 80-year-old woman.

Camilla, who first heard of the centre’s work in 2018, said she was “delighted” to become their patron.

She said: “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.”

The Duchess will be working with Nigerian and British Nigerian women to find ways to help the Mirabel Centre over the coming months, Clarence House said.

Ms Eze-Anaba, who founded the centre when working on domestic violence issues as a lawyer, said: "This announcement is timely considering the devastating nature of sexual violence and the increased advocacy for survivor support services which has led to an increase in the number of survivors who require the services of the centre.

"The current Covid-19 pandemic has further revealed the endemic nature of sexual violence.

"We have seen a huge number of children and women coming forward to report cases of sexual assault and rape.

"We are confident that the support of the duchess will make a difference."

Camilla, who has visited shelters and support centres around the world, is also patron of the UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives.