Change That Lasts for Wales, Manifesto 2023

We want a world in which women and children live fear free from domestic abuse, sexual violence and all forms of violence against women, and by doing so achieve independence, freedom and liberation from oppression. 

Today we’re launching a manifesto that seeks to prioritise violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV) for the next UK Government.  

The key areas that need to be addressed to create Change That Lasts for Wales are: 

Support for Migrant Survivors and abolishing NRPF

Violence against women disproportionately affects migrant women, and it is often common for perpetrators to use immigration status as a weapon of control and coercion meaning that the survivors are too scared to disclose. Having NRPF means that the individual is subject to immigration control, and they will not be entitled to certain public funds. Survivors who face little to no support, are more likely to stay in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. No recourse to public funds is a condition attached to visas which stops a person from being able to access the majority of state benefits and funds. 

We are calling on all political parties to:  

  • Abolish the policy of No Recourse to Public Funds.  
  • Put an end to the UK and Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership

The whole systems approach in preventing violence against women and girls

All forms of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV) do not happen in silo, they are rooted in culture, narratives and attitudes of gender inequality and discrimination, which run throughout our society and institutions. VAWDASV violates women and children’s human rights and leaves them with significant trauma, whilst they try to navigate their communities and their lives. We believe that everyone must be able to live a life without fear and that it is everybody’s responsibility to challenge the structures, practise, and norms which harbour gender inequality in order to eradicate VAWDASV. There needs to be a whole system approach on eliminating violence against women and girls (VAWG) to evidence any meaningful change, otherwise the system risks violating women and children all over again. 

We are calling on all parties to:  

  • Ensure that a whole system public health approach that ensures prevention of all forms, that is underpinned by having trauma-informed, strengths based and needs-led support from all services/organisation.  
  • Achieve sustainable commissioning of all services to ensure the capacity and resource to facilitate prevention, whilst a recognition that primary and secondary prevention is likely to cause an increase in specialist services demand.  
  • Look for opportunities to up-skill professionals across a wide range of sectors to increase opportunities for prevention.  
  • Commit to a public health approach and awareness campaigns which particularly support minoritised groups to begin to address additional barriers that are faced. 

An effective use of the justice system

Survivors of domestic abuse face countless challenges at all levels of the civil and criminal justice system. From a lack of trust when reporting incidents of VAWDASV to authorities, facing years of waiting for a traumatic trial and facing the family court system, survivors are having to navigate barriers to justice. 

We are calling on all parties to:  

  • Focus on implementing the recommendations from the Harm panel report to address the deep-rooted systemic concerns with how the court identify and respond to domestic abuse.  
  • Training for all criminal justice staff to aid them to understand the different types of abuse, what this looks like and how it can impact survivors and their children. Training must incorporate the rights of survivors and their children (as ‘victims’ in their own right) as per the Victim and Prisoners’ Bill.  
  • Ensure that non-compliance of the Victim’s Code is taken seriously. The Victim and Prisoners’ Bill must go further to ensure that there is specific provision around the lack of compliance, redress, and sanctions. 
  • Take immediate action to reduce the court backlogs and continue the Pilot Pathfinder Courts. 

Affordable and adequate housing for survivors

While barriers to housing are society-wide, for those experiencing violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence, for those women who are fleeing violence and abuse, and for those seeking to rebuild their life following this trauma, these barriers are further exacerbated. 

We are calling on all parties to:  

  • Commit to an adequate programme dedicated to the building of specific social housing and temporary accommodation.  
  • All individuals who are involved in processing housing claims must be VAWDASV trained to ensure they understand different forms of abuse/violence and the multitude of situations where a survivor may present as homeless or will require a new home.  
  • Specific training should be provided to ensure that those within housing understand multiple disadvantages and the difficulties marginalised groups face, to ensure systematic barriers are broken down. 

A benefits system that works for all, including survivors

Being able to access their own funds can be vital for the safety and well-being of survivors. Perpetrators utilise financial barriers to prevent survivors from achieving independence from the perpetrator and securing financial independence. This is being exacerbated by the current economic climate. 

We are calling on all parties to:  

  • Make separate Universal Credit payments as standard. 
  • Ensure that those in refuge and temporary accommodation can access Universal Credit without delay 
  • Scrap the two-child tax credit limit. 
  • Remove the benefits cap which currently stands at £13,400 for a single person. 
  • Begin a programme of trauma-informed training of all DWP customer-facing staff. 

Legislative Reform 

Much legislation is currently underway that will directly impact survivors of abuse. While the Victims and Prisoners Bill is promising, at present it fails to provide adequate protections to survivors or sufficient resources to specialist services, and the Illegal Migration Act will make it harder for migrant women, particularly those who are survivors, and their children to access the support they need. 

We are calling on all parties to:  

  • Revoke the Illegal Migration Bill  
  • Insert a firewall within the Victims and Prisoners Bill to prevent third-party data sharing to the Home Office 
  • In the existence of NRPF, commit to a funding to provide support to survivors of that status and ensure that statutory agencies are fulfilling their responsibilities to survivors and their families. 

You can find more information on each of these areas and read the full manifesto here: Manifesto 2023


For more information, please contact Stephanie Grimshaw, Head of Public Affairs and Communications on [email protected].