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Camilla demands end to ‘heinous’ problem of domestic abuse

The Duchess of Sussex addressed the issue with her first hashtag as she launched this year’s Women of the World Festival in London.

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Camilla said she was using her very first hashtag to raise awareness of domestic abuse (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Camilla said she was using her very first hashtag to raise awareness of domestic abuse (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Camilla said she was using her very first hashtag to raise awareness of domestic abuse (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Duchess of Cornwall spoke out against the “heinous” problem of domestic abuse as she launched this year’s Women of the World Festival.

Camilla, who is president of the organisation, addressed the opening session of the three-day event at the Southbank Centre in London.

She called for men to join the conversation and use their voices alongside women to raise awareness of the issue.

The campaign to end domestic violence needs the voices of men as well as womenDuchess of Cornwall

The duchess said the “taboo” subject must become part of the national conversation, quoting the hashtag #everyonesproblem.

She said: “The campaign to end domestic violence needs the voices of men as well as women, challenging the cultural, economic and political context in which we all experience the world.

“We will all benefit from building a society which will simply not tolerate this heinous crime any longer.”

Camilla joked that, as someone in her 70s, she is “a somewhat ancient technophobe” but said she does know about hashtags.

She added: “And I’m now using my very first one – #everyonesproblem. Domestic abuse is everyone’s problem and the solution must be, too.”

Encouraging survivors not to feel shame or blame, she praised the bravery of people she has met who have emerged as “the victors not the victims” of such experiences.

She described domestic abuse as a complicated issue, being perpetrated and experienced by both genders, and urged society to look at education from a young age.

She said: “Young people don’t set out to become abusers. We need to teach our young men and women what healthy and loving relationships are, and that it is never OK to treat anyone with less than respect.”

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Camilla spoke at the Southbank Centre (Luciana Guerra /PA)

One in four British women will suffer domestic violence in their lifetime and two women a week were killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales last year, Camilla said.

Ahead of the event, the duchess met domestic abuse survivors and campaigners, as well as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who was attending to support the event.

After her speech, Camilla listened to a panel discussion, in the name of the #everyonesproblem hashtag.

The conversation, chaired by WOW Foundation founder Jude Kelly, featured businesswoman, campaigner and domestic abuse survivor Gina Miller; chief executive of SafeLives charity Suzanne Jacob; Celia Peachey, whose mother was murdered by an ex-partner with a history of violence and domestic abuse; and Naomi Donald, who suffered abuse as a teenager and young woman.

Raising awareness of and tackling domestic abuse is an issue Camilla has spoken about in recent years.

At an engagement last month she said her first encounter with survivors at SafeLives in 2016 had sparked her interest in the problem, and had left her “both shocked and horrified by just how many thousands of people across the world live with it”.

PA