We have previously written about the Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Abuse, and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill that was introduced to the national assembly in June 2014 by Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business. Stage 2 has now been completed as the bill passes through the National Assembly for Wales.
The bill is designed to ensure the public sector is focussed on the prevention of all gender based, violence, domestic abuse, and sexual violence. As well as prioritising the protection of victims and greatly improving the help and support available to anyone affected by these issues. The bill will facilitate this by demanding local authorities, local health boards, Welsh ministers, and other public institutions develop their own strategies centred on the prevention of gender-based violence, sexual violence, and domestic abuse. A unique position will also be created within the Welsh government to tackle these same issues, and this Ministerial Advisor will be the first position of its kind in the UK.
Due to a change in ministerial portfolios, the member in charge of the bill was in fact changed from Lesley Griffiths, to Leighton Andrews, Minister for Public Services, on 12th September 2014.
Following this change, the Stage 2 proceedings, which is the committee consideration of amendments, took place on January 22nd. During this meeting, the various suggested amendments to the bill were discussed and then voted upon by each committee member. Such suggested amendments included, provision of adequate services to be given free of charge to victims, the definition of ‘perpetrator’ to be given a clearer meaning, local authorities and health boards must consult appropriate persons before revising or publishing their local strategy, and many more.
These stages of voting on amendments are integral to any bill as it passes through the assembly. This stage helps to determine the final bill, and what will hopefully be the structure of the bill when it is passed by the assembly.
During these Stage 2 proceedings, it was decided that the title of the bill will be changed from the Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Abuse, and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill, to Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill (amendment 82).
The bill in now currently at Stage 3, and the amendments will be considered in Plenary, by the whole Assembly, on March 3rd 2015.
To find out more information about the different stages of the bill, you can visit the Senedd website here.