Duchess of Cornwall praises rape crisis centre during Ilford visit

A rape crisis centre was praised by the Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday as she toured the facility and met a victim of a violent sexual assault.

The centre, in Loxford Polyclinic, Ilford Lane, Ilford, is run by charity The Nia Project.

It offers help to men and women in Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. A senior counsellor, who asked not to be named to help protect her clients, said the centre will be fully up and running in April after a four-month phasing in of services.

Eleven people are already on the waiting list.

The service is funded by the Mayor of London and victims can attend face-to-face counselling sessions at the service’s hub in the polyclinic or at a base in Hackney.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who also toured the facility on Tuesday, said: “Incidents of robberies, car crime, violence and gun crime are all going south, but rape and sexual assaults are going in the wrong direction and I want women in east London to feel there’s somewhere they can go, somewhere where their problems can be tackled in a way that makes them feel secure.

“I want victims and potential victims of these crimes to know they are not alone.

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“This rape crisis centre is at the forefront of that and I congratulate everyone involved.”

Mr Johnson and the Duchess of Cornwall had a private meeting about some of the issues surrounding sexual violence during their visit, with deputy mayor for policing Kit Malthouse and chief executive of The Nia project Karen Ingla-Smith involved.

The visit also gave the special guests a chance to find out more about the polyclinic, which houses GPs and a range of services including X-ray and blood testing facilities.

Dr Narinder Sharma, chairman of the Loxford polysystem, which oversees health provision in a fifth of Redbridge, said: “Polyclinics are about having more of a holistic approach and I think the Duchess understood the need for a facility like this.”

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