Yesterday (15th February 2022) it was announced that Prince Andrew had reached a settlement in his sexual assault case, and today it has been confirmed he will pay £12m to survivor Virginia Giuffre’s charity.
Jayne Butler, Rape Crisis England and Wales’ CEO comments:
“Virginia Giuffre has shown great strength in pursuing this case, and in doing so, was faced with appalling treatment by Prince Andrew’s legal team, which included blatant victim-blaming and gross attempts to undermine her credibility. We hope that this settlement brings Virginia some closure, and commend her courage and tenacity.
We know that for many victims and survivors, the coverage in this case will have been triggering, and the treatment of Ms Giuffre will echo their own experiences or their fears of how they may be treated if they speak out. We hope this settlement will go some way in empowering those who do want to speak out and will send a message that even the powerful can be held to account.”
The settlement was accompanied by a joint statement in which Prince Andrew acknowledged the suffering Ms Giuffre had experienced as a victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks, and also pledged that he will support “the fight against the evils of sex trafficking”, and by supporting its victims. Rape Crisis have been asked by journalists if we as an organisation would be willing to accept support from Prince Andrew.
Our CEO states:
“We would like to be clear that we have not been offered any support in the form of donation or otherwise by Prince Andrew or Virginia Giuffre. If such an offer were to materialise we would not accept any money without consulting with our Rape Crisis member centres and with survivors – as it’s crucial for us that their voices are heard and they have a say in any decision-making process. Rape Crisis Centres provide vital and life-changing support for victims, and their services help to support those affected by all forms of sexual violence and abuse to regain control of their lives. They are also chronically under-funded, and the demand for services far outweighs the resources available to them, so donations are an important part of ensuring access to these services for those that need them. Although throwing money at an issue does not absolve responsibility, compensation for harms caused can be really important for victims and survivors, and for the organisations supporting them. We will always support any organisations or individuals to make their own choices informed by their views and feelings.
Offers to support victims and survivors of abuse do feel cynical when Prince Andrew’s legal team demonstrated so much disrespect for Ms Giuffre and a complete disregard for how their victim-blaming actions would affect other victims and survivors.”
If anyone has been impacted by the media coverage of this case in recent weeks, they can find information, resources and details of specialist support services here at the Rape Crisis website.