The Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill was passed by the Welsh Assembly in March this year, and it has now received Royal Assent and has become an Act of the Assembly.
The Bill was designed to address the disproportionate level of violence against women in the UK, and will create new legislation to improve the Public Sector response to gender-based violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence. There will be a strong focus on raising further awareness of domestic abuse and violence against women, while implementing effective and strategic preventative measures that will help professionals more easily recognise signs of violence and abuse, and be able to offer more effective support as a result.
There will be a strong push towards consistency of best practice across all public services that will make the prevention of violence against women a measurable priority for all organisations and agencies working in this field, while encouraging joint working to change attitudes and behaviours.
The Bill will also introduce a National Advisor to oversee these new national and local strategies, and measure the response of public services to people who have experienced violence or domestic abuse and their families.
The Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 is the very first legislation of its kind in the UK that includes a specific focus on violence against women.
The Sealing Ceremony was held on Wednesday April 29th, where Letters Patent under the Welsh Seal, were signed by the Queen signifying Her Assent of the bill, and then notified to the Clerk of the Assembly. This means the Bill then becomes an Act of Assembly. At the Ceremony, First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, applied the Welsh Seal to the Letters Patent, and it was also attended by Leighton Andrews, Public Services Minister, and Carl Sargeant, Natural Resources Minister.
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said:
“The Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 puts Wales at the forefront in the UK and Europe in tackling these appalling crimes.
“There’s no doubt it will make a very real difference to vulnerable people in Wales and it will save lives.”
The Act is no doubt a progressive step for Wales in tackling the ever increasing levels of domestic violence and abuse. Organisations such as Calan DVS are working tirelessly to bring an end to domestic abuse in Wales, and the creation of this act provides great hope for the future.
Calan DVS’s CEO, Rhian Bowen-Davies, says, “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.”