Welsh Women’s Aid held their Annual General Meeting on November 17th, alongside their partnership seminar on preventing violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence, which coincides with the recent enactment of some of the core sections of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.
Welsh Women’s Aid has existed for almost 40 years as an organisation focussed on standing against domestic abuse and violence against women, and campaigning for improvements in public policy and legislation regarding women and children experiencing all forms of domestic abuse in Wales. Welsh Women’s Aid offers refuge, legal help, housing support, and services for children and young people, and continues to stand as a pillar of support for women experiencing domestic abuse across Wales.
The Welsh Women’s Aid AGM and seminar was a great opportunity to meet with a number of different local authorities, organisations, policy makers, health professionals, community teams, and other specialist services from across Wales who are invested in preventing all forms of domestic abuse and violence against women.
Calan’s Regional Development Coordinator for Western Bay, Rosie Frewin, attended the seminar along with other members of the Calan team. They had the chance to listen to a number of influential women talk about domestic abuse and how lasting change can be achieved, the importance of gender equality, and overcoming barriers to prevention work. There were also opportunities for discussion on domestic abuse prevention among children and young people, the prevention of rape and sexual violence, FGM prevention work, as well as bystander initiatives.
"FGM is not a religious practice, it is a cultural practice which needs be challenged from within the community." - Wanjiku Ngotho Mbugba (Bawso).
There was also a Q & A session with Calan’s former CEO, Rhian Bowen-Davies, now the Welsh Government’s first National Adviser on Violence against Women and other forms of Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. The attendees also heard from Eleri Butler, CEO of Welsh Women’s Aid, Julia Hobbs from the North Wales Prevention Group, and Liz Kelly, Professor of Sexualised Violence at London Metropolitan University.
"Women routinely narrow their opportunities to ensure their safety. Prevention needs to be at the centre, we really need to believe that a different world is possible." - Professor Liz Kelly.
"Prevention needs to be a focus to prevent loss of life, homelessness, poverty, inequality..." - Rhian Bowen-Davies, National Adviser.
The seminar was a wonderful opportunity to get to know a number of other organisation and individuals from further across Wales and hear what they are facing and the work they are doing in their own areas. It is important that seminars like these take place on a regular basis, as it really allows for organisations and services users to come together and work in partnership to fight against domestic violence and abuse, which has been proven to more effective time and time again.