Domestic abuse charity in Palace racism row pauses operations over safety fears

Sistah Space said it was ‘forced to temporarily cease’ many of its operations after Ngozi Fulani spoke out about her treatment at Buckingham Palace.

Ngozi Fulani at a reception at Buckingham Palace, London
Ngozi Fulani at a reception at Buckingham Palace, London

A charity led by a black domestic abuse campaigner who was repeatedly asked where she “really came from” at Buckingham Palace has had to pause its operations over safety fears.

Sistah Space, which supports women of African and Caribbean heritage who have been affected by domestic and sexual abuse, said it was “forced to temporarily cease” many of its operations after Ngozi Fulani spoke out about her treatment by Lady Susan Hussey.

Ms Fulani, who founded the charity, said she had suffered “horrific abuse” on social media after the royal repeatedly challenged her when she said she was British.

In a statement on its Instagram page on Friday night, Sistah Space said: “Thank you for the continued support and messages.

File photo dated 29/11/2022 of Ngozi Fulani (2nd left) at a reception at Buckingham Palace, London.
The prominent black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse said she was repeatedly asked by a member of the Buckingham Palace household at the Queen Consort’s reception where she ‘really came from’ (Kin Cheung/PA)

“Unfortunately recent events meant that we were forced to temporarily cease many of our operations to ensure the safety of our service users and our team.

“We are overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement and look forward to fully reinstating our services as soon as safely possible.”

Ms Fulani had earlier expressed her shock over her treatment by Lady Susan – Prince William’s godmother and the late Queen’s lady in waiting.

The charity founder said she and her team had received “horrific abuse via social media”.

Royals attend church service
Lady Susan Hussey, right, asked the question at a Buckingham Palace reception (PA)

Lady Susan, 83, resigned from the household and apologised after she repeatedly challenged Ms Fulani when she said she was British at the Queen Consort’s reception highlighting violence against women and girls.

Ms Fulani earlier told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the royal had also touched her hair during the encounter.

“I was stood next to two other women – black women – and she (Lady Susan) just made a beeline for me and she took my locks and moved it out of the way so that she could see my name badge,” the Sistah Space founder said.

“That’s a no-no. I wouldn’t put my hands in someone’s hair and culturally it’s not appropriate.”

Ms Fulani had added that the comments were down to racism, not Lady Susan’s age.

“I’ve heard so many suggestions it’s about her age and stuff like that and I think that’s a kind of a disrespect about ageism,” she said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Are we saying that because of your age you can’t be racist or you can’t be inappropriate?

“If you invite people to an event, as I said, against domestic abuse, and there are people there from different demographics, I don’t see the relevance of whether I’m British or not British. You’re trying to make me unwelcome in my own space.”

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