The Queen relaunches the Wash Bag Project in support of survivors of sexual abuse

The Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to thank organisations and individuals for their work supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and to relaunch Her Majesty's Wash Bags project

Reception at Buckingham Palace

Since her official visit to the Croydon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre in 2009, violence against women has become a key area of Her Majesty’s work. She has visited projects and initiatives across the world which are working to reduce rates of sexual assault, and support survivors, both in the immediate aftermath of their assault and longer-term.

Reception at Buckingham Palace

The event also marked the relaunch of The Queen's Wash Bags initiatives which distributes bags containing essential toiletries to Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) across the country. 

The Wash Bags reception at Buckingham Palace

The Wash Bags project began in 2013 when the initiative was piloted at the Havens. The 'Havens' is the name given to the three SARCs based in London, and where wash bags were first given to victims after they had undergone forensic examinations.

Sexual Assault Referral Centres support victims in the immediate aftermath of an incident and specialise in undertaking forensic examinations, regardless of whether the victim wishes to report the crime.  

The. Queen makes a speech

In her speech at the event, Her Majesty read a letter from a survivor who had appreciated 'the kindness of strangers at a very dark time' when given a washbag, and she spoke to all of those in the room who have helped survivors in myriad different ways: through volunteering, donation and professional support:

Thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for your kindness, thank you for not remaining strangers to those enduring the darkest of times

Boots has proudly supported Her Majesty Queen Camilla’s Wash Bags initiative since 2017. To date, Boots has donated over 50,000 wash bags filled with essential toiletries, which are distributed to Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) across the UK. In December 2023, Boots announced its commitment to provide donations for a further three years. During this time, it will donate a further 9,500 bags per year, which will be distributed across 65 SARCs.

The Washbag Project

Founded in 1996 by His Majesty The King, when Prince of Wales, In Kind Direct is a UK charity focused on distributing consumer products, donated by companies, to charitable organisations in its network, ensuring that everyone has access to the products they need to keep clean, safe and well. 

In Kind Direct joined the partnership with Her Majesty The Queen and Boots in 2023 as the fulfilment partner, and to date have distributed 4,800 washbags to 58 SARCs across the country supporting thousands of service users.

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