View from the Assembly by Jane Hutt AM

LAST week, legislation from the Welsh Government aimed at confronting domestic abuse, sexual and gender- based violence was introduced to the National Assembly.

The Gender- based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Bill recognises the wide reach of these forms of violence and aims to protect everyone in society, but also acknowledges that violence against women accounts for a vastly disproportionate number of incidents.

Here in the Vale of Glamorgan, Atal Y Fro is a unique organisation dedicated to the elimination of domestic violence. It provides refuge, advice and support for victims and plays a huge role in terms of education and awareness raising. Atal Y Fro means ‘Vale Prevention’ and shows how committed the organisation is to supporting the preventative agenda.

This Bill also recognises the importance of prevention and places duties on Welsh Ministers, County and County Borough Councils (Local Authorities) and Local Health Boards to prepare and publish strategies aimed at ending domestic abuse, gender-based violence and sexual violence.

The Bill will also lead to the appointment of a Ministerial Adviser to work with the Welsh Government to tackle gender-based violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence. The post is the first role of its kind in the UK.

The Bill was laid on the same day that the Welsh Government launched its ‘Make A Stand’ campaign which is asking the people of Wales to openly declare their intolerance of these types of abuse by posting photographs of themselves linking arms on social media and using the hashtag #makingastandwales.

The photos will mirror an advertising campaign which began on June 30, on poster sites and LCD panels around Welsh railway stations, showing groups of figures linking arms.

The year-long campaign will pose the question ‘What will you do?’ and will raise awareness of the support services available to those experiencing domestic abuse, violence against women and sexual violence. More information will also be made available to the public on what to do if they suspect someone may be a victim or perpetrator.

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.

The Welsh Government has received White Ribbon accreditation for its commitment to stand against domestic abuse and violence against women through the involvement of men and boys.

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