Claudia Da Silva founded what became the London Centre for Personal Safety (LCPS) in 1981 and she led the organisation ever since. She pioneered and developed our evidence based approach widely recognised as best practice in our field. She was passionate about making the provision accessible to those most in need and vulnerable and about setting the provision in a human rights framework. “You have the human rights you can get enforced or can enforce yourself.”
Claudia was born 29/09/1948 in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil. She was a remarkable and very talented woman. Her preference was to be loving, warm, compassionate and very generous. However, her experiences suffered growing up and as a young woman in Brazil, whether it was cruelty of nuns at her convent school, domestic violence or the torture because of her opposition to the military dictatorship then governing Brazil, these sensitised her to injustice and inequality and she fought these issues all her life.
She qualified as a Drama teacher and ran theatre groups in the Manaus Opera House and then worked as a journalist, exposing amongst other things the institutional abuse of people with mental health issues.
On leaving Brazil she travelled widely, something she loved doing, travelling overland through Europe, the Middle East, India and Asia and back, and lived for a time in Portugal before settling in the UK.
Though she was very talented, working as a singer, storyteller and qualifying as an Acupuncturist amongst other things, what became her life’s work and passion was her founding the charity that became the London Centre for Personal Safety (LCPS), which enabled her to yoke many strands of her life experience into a very powerful, enduring and effective force for the greater good, a way to help aid and positively transform the lives of the vulnerable, unfortunate and at risk and especially of women and girls. She was very modest and unassuming, caring far more for the quality of the work, about which she was extremely passionate, than any personal recognition.
She saw LCPS’s work as being pivotal not just to women’s equality but as key to Human rights whether working in London, Europe, USA, or Mexico.
Since 1981, Claudia has trained tens of thousands of people, many of whom were victims of crime and mainly women and girls. We have had many success stories from students over the decades, even years after receiving the training. It has saved peoples lives, helped people deter and cope with physical and sexual violence and rape and, helped even those who have endured or known decades of domestic and relationship violence. Claudia prioritised the training to, and worked with all kinds of vulnerable people, including people with disabilities or learning difficulties, older citizens or women in prostitution, and trafficked women to prevent and protect themselves from violence and in doing so also aid their recovery.
Claudia keenly researched and contributed to research in the field. She obtained an M.A. in Criminology from Middlesex University in 1999 and contributed for example to Seith & Kelly’s. “Achievements against the grain: self-defence training for women and girls in Europe” 2003 and co-authored with Liz Kelly a briefing document for the Metropolitan Police Service. “What works in avoiding rape/sexual assault? Evidence from research and evaluation and implications for prevention campaigns and situational safety advice.”
She was a member, Vice Chair and Chair of the Sapphire Independent Advisory group to the Metropolitan Police Service. She has also advised local and national government on issues of women’s safety, public safety and domestic and sexual violence. She was a trustee for a number of other charities at different times e.g. London Rape Crisis, the London School of Capoeira, the Women's Resource Centre (WRC). She was expert advisor, trainer and founding member of the National Women’s Self Defence Association (NWSDA) and contributor to the international IMPACT network. The IMPACT approach Claudia introduced to the UK and combined with LCPS’s best practice.
Under Claudia’s leadership, over the decades, LCPS has repeatedly been cited as best-practice in the field, e.g. in 2005, LCPS won the Lillith Project ‘Out of Town Award’, which reflects her commitment to constantly seeking to raise standards and improve practice.
On the 16th of October 2012 Claudia ended her resistance to cancer, dying peacefully in her long-term partner's arms. She will be very greatly missed, but all at LCPS are committed to preserving and honouring her legacy. We are profoundly grateful for her gifts and teaching.