Today, June 30th 2014, the Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Abuse, and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill has been introduced to the national assembly.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business, introduced the bill, which has been in development for over a year and a half, following numerous surveys, consultation events, and calls for evidence. The bill is intended to ensure a focus across the public sector on the prevention of gender-based violence, domestic abuse, and sexual violence, the protection of victims, and much improved support for anyone affected by these issues. The bill will place important duties on local authorities, Welsh ministers, and local health boards, to prepare and publish their own strategies aimed at reducing and bringing an end to gender-based violence, sexual violence, and domestic abuse. The bill will also lead to the appointment of a Ministerial Advisor to work with the Welsh Government to tackle gender-based violence, sexual violence, and domestic abuse; the first position of its kind in the UK.
The Bill has been declared to be within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, and is currently in stage 1 of the legislative process. Committee considerations of the bill will take place on July 17th and further debates and considerations will follow this. You can read an explanation of how a bill moves through the various stages here.
To coincide with the introduction of the bill, the Welsh Government have launched a new campaign asking people to take a stand against all forms of domestic violence and abuse.
The campaign is called ‘Make a Stand’ and people all across Wales will be encouraged to openly declare their intolerance of abuse. The campaign will be running for a year, and will feature posters, adverts, and billboards, depicting a number of figures linking arms and ‘making a stand’, which will fuel the social media side of the campaign, as people are encouraged to take pictures of themselves linking arms, and post them to the campaign pages on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #makingastandwales.
The campaign aims to challenge people to think about what they would do if they suspected someone they knew of going through domestic abuse; raising awareness of how they can deal with the situation, as well the support services available to victims.
Lesley Griffiths AM, said, “Colleagues, friends, neighbours and even family members may be afraid of acting on their suspicions of abuse for fear they are mistaken, interfering or even making the victim’s situation worse. With this campaign, we aim to empower people with information to act in the right way if they suspect abuse may be taking place.”
You can follow @LiveFearFree and Lesley Griffiths @WG_LocalGovMin on Twitter for news and information about the campaign, or tweet them your photo and message using the hashtags #makingastandwales or #livefearfree.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or suspect that someone you know is, call the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or visit www.livefearfree.org.uk.