News | Press Release

23 January 2024

Her Majesty The Queen visits Refuge’s Gaia Centre in Lambeth

Her Majesty The Queen visits Refuge’s Gaia Centre in Lambeth, South London, a community-based lifeline working to end gender-based violence and support survivors of domestic abuse.

  • 95% of survivors supported by Refuge use community-based services such as The Gaia Centre in Lambeth visited by The Queen today.
  • Her Majesty remains dedicated to her pledge to support survivors of domestic abuse and continue vital work aiming to end gender-based violence.

Photo Credit: Stacey Osborne for Refuge.

Today, Her Majesty The Queen visited Refuge’s Gaia Centre, a specialist Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) service for the community based in Lambeth, South London.

The Gaia Centre, run by the domestic abuse service provider and charity Refuge is a one-stop shop service, a community hub based in the heart of Lambeth working to end gender-based violence.

The Queen met with survivors of domestic abuse, frontline staff from Refuge’s service delivery team and from Refuge’s leadership team including Interim CEO Ellen Miller and Chair of Refuge’s Board of Trustees Hetti Barkworth-Nanton CBE. Her Majesty also spoke to members of Lambeth Council who commission The Gaia Centre service, about the work to end gender-based violence in the region.

The Queen visited a children’s playroom and heard from Refuge’s specialist staff about how children who have experienced domestic abuse, and other forms of VAWG including Child Sexual Exploitation, are supported by The Gaia Centre.

The Gaia Centre is one of Refuge’s community-led services to support survivors of domestic abuse and different forms of Violence Against Women and Girls, providing confidential, non-judgemental and independent support services for those living in the London borough of Lambeth who are experiencing gender-based violence.

Comments made by Her Majesty The Queen during a visit to Refuge’s Gaia Centre, South London, on Tuesday 23rd January 2024:

“I particularly salute all the survivors who are able to get out there; to talk to me, talk to everybody and tell other people about what they’ve been through, because they are going to save many lives by getting others to come forward.

It’s wonderful to see everybody here today, to see a whole team working together, it’s obviously producing good results and will save lives. Thank you all very much for all you do in this field, because you are doing a brilliant job.”

Interim CEO at Refuge, Ellen Miller said:

“Refuge has long been campaigning to raise awareness of community-based domestic abuse services, so we were thrilled that The Queen visited the Refuge run Gaia Centre today. Local services like our Gaia Centre service in Lambeth are absolute lifelines for communities, providing survivors of domestic abuse a vital support system.

95% of survivors Refuge supported in the last year were supported by these types of community-based services. These important services, run by dedicated staff, are only available because of the generosity of charitable supporters, and run by dedicated staff, working tirelessly to address the epidemic social issue of gender-based violence and ensuring access to specialist support for survivors.”

Refuge Chair, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton CBE, said:

“Refuge is enormously grateful to The Queen for visiting us today. Her Majesty has a long history of lending her support and voice in the campaign to end gender-based violence and domestic abuse.

Today, Her Majesty met with survivors of domestic abuse and listened to their stories of experiencing and overcoming this horrific crime. When survivors so bravely share their stories about lived experience of domestic abuse, they do so, so that they can help others and inform the vital work that is ongoing. The women who so powerfully spoke to The Queen today really embodied what it is to be survivors.

Her Majesty was able to visit some of the specialist facilities Refuge provides in our services including our children’s playroom as we know that children don’t just witness domestic abuse, they experience it as victims in their own right. Refuge’s mission is to support women and their children to live a life free from abuse.

Her Majesty also spoke with our frontline expert staff who gave details about everything Refuge and the Gaia Centre is doing to support more survivors in their communities so that they have options on how to rebuild their lives following gender-based violence and domestic abuse. I know Her Majesty is hugely passionate in her work in this area to eradicate domestic abuse and gender-based violence and we look forward to continuing this work together.”