This week the Welsh Government has passed ground-breaking legislation through the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
This bill is designed to tackle the disproportionate suffering of women from certain types of abuse such as domestic abuse and sexual violence through improved public services responses.
In addition to Calan DVS, this legislation is actively supported and endorsed by many regional groups including Welsh Women’s Aid.
Calan’s CEO, Rhian Bowen Davies, says “This bill has the potential to make a real difference to individuals and families experiencing domestic violence and abuse. The reason it will make such a difference is because it brings accountability and leadership among public bodies in terms of how they will address domestic violence and abuse.
“Passionate campaigning, commitment and evidence from organisations like Calan, working to end domestic violence and abuse in Wales has played a huge part in the development of this Bill and today is a truly momentous event.”
The aim behind the new legislation is to make prevention of violence against women a measurable priority for all organisations and agencies working in this field and encouraging joint working to change attitudes and behaviours. Public services such as health, housing and social services will have a legislative duty to identify VAW, domestic abuse and sexual violence and supporting and protecting those individuals and families experiencing these forms of violence and abuse.
Measurement of this accountability will come through the introduction of a National Advisor to oversee national and local strategies, and for public services to deliver more effective responses to survivors and their families so that they achieve safety, independence and freedom.
Concludes Rhian, “Finally we have formal recognition from the highest level of the impact that domestic abuse has across our communities; along with a much needed commitment to supporting individuals and families who are affected by domestic violence and holding those responsible to account.”