The Duchess of Cornwall has praised a campaign by the Women’s Institute (WI) which aims to raise awareness of violence against women.
The community-based organisation, which serves women in the UK, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, launched its campaign in 2016.
Camilla thanked WI for its efforts in a letter published in the latest edition of its magazine, WI Life.
“To all of you – and to every single WI member across England, Wales and the islands who has supported women’s refuges – thank you. You will never know how many lives you have, quite literally, saved,” Camilla said.
In November 2020, a Femicide Census report found that a woman is killed by a man in the UK every three days – a statistic that has remained unchanged for 10 years.
According to Counting Dead Women, a project that tracks femicide in the UK, there are at least 122 cases of women who have been killed by men (or where a man is the principal suspect) so far in 2021.
“Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner in England and Wales,” Camilla wrote in the letter.
“This tragic statistic has not altered in several decades. Thousands of lives have been lost.”
According to domestic violence charity Refuge, one in four women in the UK experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.
“Countless more have had to leave their homes and one in four women across the UK continue to live with abuse,” Camilla said.
“This is particularly in our minds as we approach Christmas, when rates of domestic violence rise significantly, but with abusive partners at home more it can be harder to call for help.”
Camilla also touched on some of the complex issues surrounding violence against women, including economic abuse, online and offline stalking, harassment and coercive control.
“As our knowledge of different types of abuse increases, so must our efforts to raise awareness to empower victims to recognise the signs and to seek help,” she said.
In 2015, the UK government amended the Serious Crime Act to make controlling or coercive behaviour during a relationship between intimate partners, former partners who still live together, and family members a criminal offence.
“The terrible events of this year have reinforced how far we have still to go before our homes and public spaces are truly safe for women,” Ann Jones, chairwoman of the National Federation of Women’s Institute said.
“WI members across the country are determined to redouble their efforts to make sure that all women and girls can live the lives they choose, free from the fear of abuse.”