World-renowned US academic who advised UK Government due to speak at Welsh Women’s Aid event in Cardiff

Professor Evan Stark, who conceptualised coercive control and advised the UK Government on its recent criminalisation, is leading two-day event to examine how public services and other professionals should identify and respond to coercive control in Wales.

This two day event, organised by Welsh Women’s Aid and sponsored by the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, will be held on 2 and 3 March 2016 at the SSE Swalec Stadium, Cardiff.

Professor Evan Stark says:

“Speaking here presents a rare opportunity to celebrate and learn more about the groundbreaking legislative initiative to prevent violence against women in Wales and address the opportunities and challenges to police and other front-line responders posed by identifying, investigating and enforcing the new offence of coercive control in the UK.”

“Coercive control is the most prevalent form of violence against women as well as the most devastating. It violates women’s human and political rights to self-determination, dignity and equality. Its effects on children in these homes are often equally devastating. If properly implemented, the combination of the new UK-wide coercive control offence and Wales-specific Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act will become the gold standard in social justice for women and children.”

Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid, says:

“We are delighted that Professor Evan Stark will be joining us to raise awareness of the deeply damaging impact coercive control has on women’s lives. The pattern of domination used by abusers deprives women of their basic rights and resources, so it’s critical that professionals from a range of services – from social services, to health and the criminal justice system – better understand respond to and prevent this form of abuse that devastates women’s and children’s lives.

“That coercive control is now a criminal offence means this is a crime against liberty and autonomy. When abusers constrain, monitor and regulate every aspect of a woman’s life, they also exploit and reinforce inequalities between men and women in society. So understanding coercive control as being central to women’s experiences of domestic abuse is essential if we are to reduce and prevent violence against women and to achieve lasting equality across all families and communities in Wales.”

Alun Michael, South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, says:

“It is essential we tackle these issues together and change attitudes and behaviour across our communities, so I’m pleased to provide the funding to bring police and partners together to learn more about the impact on victims and their children of controlling behaviours and this form of violence against women. We will be using the session to talk about how agencies and the communities they support can recognise coercive control and respond to it.”

Professor Stark and Eleri Butler will be joined at these seminars by a range of professionals working across Public Authorities in Wales, to hear from speakers including:

• Rhian Bowen Davies, National Adviser for Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence
• Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales
• Sally-Ann Jenkins, Association of Directors of Social Services (Wales)
• Mutale Merrill, Bawso
• Sara Kirkpatrick, Respect
• Yasmin Rehman, Researcher and Lecturer
• Siobhan Blake, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
• Superintendent Lian Penhale, Heads of Public Protection Unit, South Wales Police