The Duchess of Cornwall speaking to representatives from the family

The Duchess of Cornwall visits Panahghar Women’s refuge in Coventry

Panahghar was the final visit of the day and saw Her Royal Highness visit the refuge to commend the support Panahghar offered to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women affected by domestic violence and abuse over the pandemic.

During the visit, The Duchess met with the service users and support staff at Panahghar to hear about their experiences and the impact of the pandemic.

Over the last year, Panahghar (which translates as ‘safehouse’ in Urdu) saw a record number of calls to their helpline and a rise in service users needing support in the community, as well as refuge accommodation during the pandemic. 

Panahghar’s refuge and support services were accessed 24/7 365 days of the year. During 2020 Panahghar supported over 87 women and 74 children in refuge alone.

Sandra Manak, the Interim CEO of Panahghar, explained: “The last year has been difficult for everyone and especially for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women's refuges across the country. We have had to adapt our support services around COVID restrictions and keep the safety of our service users and support staff a key priority. I am very proud to lead such a dedicated team.

“It has been wonderful to welcome Her Royal Highness to Panahghar and be recognised for the hard work and commitment that we offer to our community and service users on a daily basis. This has been a very good opportunity for us to highlight the issues that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women experience as well as the importance of retaining specialist services such as ours. We hope to continue to grow and enhance our services.”

The Duchess of Cornwall praised the service users in sharing their experiences, as well as commending Panahghar’s staff team for their hard work, especially during the pandemic and understood the challenges faced by service users and staff.

Published: Wednesday, 26th May 2021