THERAPISTS and counsellors who help victims of rape and sexual assault spoke to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Boris Johnson last week about expanding their work across west London.
The Mayor of London and the duchess visited the Women and Girls' Network in Shepherd's Bush, which has been given funding to set up a new centre in Ealing with satellite offices serving all the western boroughs.
Hundreds of women who have been through the trauma of rape are already being helped by the organisation since it launched in Shepherd's Bush in April, and it is hoped thousands more will soon have easier access to treatment.
It follows an election pledge by Mr Johnson to expand rape crisis services, which were previously limited to one centre in Croydon.
Speaking to the Chronicle during last Thursday's visit, Mr Johnson said: "The duchess has a particular interest in rape crisis and looking after women who are the victims of sexual violence of all kinds. She has already been to the centre in Croydon, which is doing a fantastic job.
"I want to see every quadrant of London capable of helping women who have been through this appalling thing.
"They should not have to travel a long distance across London to get the therapy and treatment that they need."
The mayor said rape and sexual abuse were 'horrifyingly prevalent crimes' which had to be tackled.
The Women and Girls' Network has been given £375,000 from the Mayor's office to set up the new West London
Rape Crisis Centre in Ealing, which will work with women and girls over the age of 14 who have experienced all kinds of historic or recent abuse, including rape, childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, prostitution, trafficking, domestic violence, genital mutilation and 'honour-based' violence.
Clinical director Akima Thomas said: "We have women coming from a variety of backgrounds from all over. Some of them have been trafficked into prostitution, and we have women who are barristers, teachers and housewives.
"There are more cases of sexual abuse than there are breast cancer.
"We want women to know that they have a safe space where they can come to have therapy with committed and experienced staff, that they will be treated with dignity and respect, and that mainly we know that they will recover."
After meeting the mayor and the duchess, helpline worker Charmaine Elliott said: "They seemed really engaged, which was good to see.
"I'm sure when they sat down at Tory HQ and thought about the big society, this is exactly the kind of organisation they were thinking about. Organisations like this really do need to be funded, and funded well."
The London Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre helpline is available free of charge on 0808 802 9999.
Lines are open from noon to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm every day of the year.