Welsh Women’s Aid, the national charity working to end all forms of violence against women and girls are concerned after the Welsh Government’s score in the new Women’s Equality Network Wales and Oxfam Cymru Feminist Scorecard 2019, released this week. The report applies a traffic light system to the Welsh Government’s progress towards achieving equality for women and girls across six areas.
When focusing on violence against women and girls, the Welsh Government’s progress was assessed as red with “little progress” being made. The Scorecard concludes that although there is ground-breaking legislation for violence against women and girls in Wales, the implementation of this has been very slow and strategies have been late emerging. There is also a lack of sustainable funding for violence against women specialist services across Wales, and long waiting times for survivors to access services. From receiving feedback from our membership of specialist services, we know that the average waiting time can be up to six months or longer.
Last year, we heard from the then First Minister, Carwyn Jones how he vowed to make Wales Europe’s safest country for Wales. However, Welsh Women’s Aid are questioning how the Welsh Government are ensuring this? We know that women are failing to feel safe in their own homes, that 66% of girls in Wales experience sexual attention or physical contact in a public space, and finally how survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence cannot access the direct services which will give them immediate safety from perpetrators of violence.
In the Scorecard report Catherine Fookes (WEN Wales) and Rachel Cable (Oxfam Cymru) state:
“Despite robust legislation and good intentions to advance gender equality, there has often been a lack of funding, a lack of strategy, and a lack of urgency to see them through.”
Welsh Women’s Aid would like to see more action put into place to make the Welsh Government a truely feminist Government, to achieve the ambition to eventually make Wales the safest place in Wales to be a woman.