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Rachel Williams announced as Literary Festival speaker

Archive photo by Johnny Bugeja of a pop-up book store at the Literary Festival.

Domestic Abuse survivor and campaigner Rachel Williams has been announced as an additional speaker at this year’s Gibraltar Literary Festival.

Ms Williams is the author of ‘The Devil at Home’ where she gives an account of the domestic abuse that she endured and resulted in her attempted murder.

Ms Williams was in an abusive relationship for 18 years, and was shot and severely injured by her violent partner in 2011, who then ended his life and a few weeks later her 16-year-old son Jack followed.

The event aims to highlight the severity of domestic abuse and that it can happen to anyone, the Government said in a statement.

Now a qualified IDVA, Ms Williams campaigns tirelessly and is committed to ending domestic abuse.

She has had five successful petitions on Change.org with a combined million signatures.

One of her campaigns and surveys went to help towards making non-fatal strangulation a specific crime.

Ms Williams is the founder of SUTDA (Stand Up to Domestic Abuse), Ambassador for Locality Solutions, and Patron for WCID (What Can I Do) and was awarded the St David’s Humanitarian Award in 2020.

In 2019 she held Wales’ first survivor led domestic abuse conference, which was opened by the First Minister of Wales.

The event was attended by over 300 delegates, which were made up of survivors, MP’s, Assembly Members, Chief Constables, Police and Crime Commissioners, former Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird, Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs and Minister Sacramento.

This session follows a collaboration between the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Tourism to mark November 25 as the United Nations International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.

The Ministry for Justice is also leading on number of events in relation to domestic abuse including a conference where Ms Williams will be speaking on Friday morning to the key stakeholder organisations in Gibraltar that provide support in domestic abuse situations.

“The literary festival covers a wide range of genres,” Minister for Tourism Vijay Daryanani said.

“To cover this crucial social issue, especially on this date in the calendar is particularly important and I am proud that we have been able to, in collaboration with the Minister for Justice, to secure Rachel’s attendance so that her story can be shared with the general public.”

“Rachel is a formidable speaker and she is highly regarded and respected internationally,” Minister for Justice Samantha Sacramento said.

“A lot of out frontline services who deliver domestic abuse protection or support have already received training delivered by her and now, through the literary festival, the general public also has the opportunity to hear her.”

“Through telling her story Rachel explains the severity of domestic abuse, coercive behaviour and raises awareness that it is everyone’s business to call it out, that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, it has no respecter of age, race, class, and gender.”

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