This week, the UK Government launched its’ Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy.
In our response to the call for evidence for this Strategy, we made several key recommendations and emphasised how collective action should be ambitious in achieving its aims.
We welcome parts of the Strategy, such as a renewed focus on prevention and a recognition of the harm that sexual harassment causes, but we are concerned at the lack of detail around how commitments made will translate into action.
Proposed legislation to introduce a duty on employers to take ‘all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace is a positive step. Our No Grey Area campaign highlights the severity and normalcy of workplace sexual harassment in Wales. We will monitor how this legislation is enforced.
Developing advice for police around the reporting of street based sexual harassment is also a welcomed step. In the creation of such practices, significance must be placed on how harmful street harassment is, and how vital tackling misogynistic societal views is to its’ prevention.
We are concerned that advice from the sector on creating two strategies- one for domestic abuse and one for all other forms of VAWG- has not been adopted. In Welsh law (the VAWDASV Wales Act 2015) all forms of VAWG are viewed as intersecting and stemming from gender inequality.
A renewed focus on prevention is appreciated. We now urge the UK Government to take a lead from the wealth of prevention work already developed by the specialist sector. A public health approach is vital in eliminating violence against women, domestic abuse, and sexual violence. You can find out Blueprint for Prevention here.
Crucial to the effective implementation of this strategy will be adequate and sustainable funding, which works to support ALL survivors, recognises intersectionality, and works to end all forms of VAWG. Only with sufficient resources and detailed commitments can an ambitious strategy be actualised.
For further comment and press inquiries, please contact [email protected]/ 07544 300983