Welsh Women’s Aid are extremely concerned by the findings released today by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) criticising South Wales Police for missing opportunities to arrest Ian Watkins. It is shocking that the lack of action taken by the police allowed Ian Watkins to continue to commit child sexual offences for a further 4 years. The impact this will have had on the victims and their families will have been horrendous. Particularly concerning is the questioning by police of the credibility of the witness. It is vitally important that Police provide a strong and well informed response to all reports of child abuse and recognise the invariably complex and dangerous situation victims and witnesses may be in when reporting abuse. It is the role of the police to make sure that victims and witnesses are listened to, understood and protected, that criminal justice sanctions are pursued and that perpetrators are held to account for their crimes, whoever they may be. It is crucial that victims and witnesses have enough confidence to report these crimes so that action can be taken that protects the lives children in abusive situations. We are certain that lessons will be learned from this case and welcome working together with South Wales Police going forwards in order to further strengthen services for victims and improve the safety of women and children in the future. Action must be taken if we are serious about making sure that everyone in Wales can live free from violence and abuse.
Children, young people and adults who are concerned about themselves, their friends, or someone else they know who might be experiencing abuse can contact the Wales Live Fear Free Helpline – 24/7, free and in confidence – on 0808 8010800. The Helpline also operates a web chat provision: http://livefearfree.gov.wales/how-to-get-help