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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall Launches Wash Bags Project at Boots UK

25 August 2017

New Project which will Support Victims of Sexual Violence

On Tuesday, 14 March 2017, Boots UK colleagues welcomed Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to their site in Beeston to celebrate the launch of a new Wash Bags initiative.

Caring for people who are at their most vulnerable is at the heart of this new scheme, which will give every victim of rape and sexual abuse, who receives important support at UK Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs), a simple wash bag, following the forensic examination.

The 12,000 wash bags have been donated by Boots UK and are being delivered to over 40 SARCs across the country in an innovative new initiative. Each bag contains a range of toiletries for the victims to use when showering and getting dressed, offering a small gesture which provides some degree of comfort and familiarity at what is a very sensitive and often dehumanising time.

The scheme, which Boots UK has launched in collaboration with SARCs, was instigated by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall after hearing the stories of rape and sexual abuse survivors during her frequent visits to the centres.

Elizabeth Fagan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Boots, comments: “This is an important initiative, which will support people at a time of great need. Our colleagues have worked closely with Clarence House and SARCs and we have selected a range of products for the bags which have been chosen to support the care as well as the emotional and physical wellbeing of the victims at a time of crisis.”

Deborah Hooton, Service Manager, Nottinghamshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre, comments:  “The support that SARC’s offer to clients helps to improve their mental and physical health outcomes after they have been affected by sexual violence and enables them to gain some control back into their lives. It offers a safe place to consider options about reporting to the Police, accessing medical examinations and collecting forensic evidence. Clients may also access on-going support from SARCs to support them through Police investigations and the SARC team will help clients to access other services such as counselling. It is really positive that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is taking great interest in SARCs as this is raising the profile of SARCs and will encourage those in need of our services to access them.”

The new Wash Bags project at Boots UK follows the launch of the annual Walgreens Boots Alliance Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report on 27 February 2017. The report details many of the ways in which Boots, and WBA has supported initiatives that benefit people in the communities in which the business operates.