Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes the decisive action taken by the Welsh Government in response to the revelations of sexual misconduct and assault within the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) following an independent investigation. The findings and disclosures of the brave survivors working under this misogynistic culture are deeply concerning. We know there is an urgent need for comprehensive measures to address this and ensure that SWFRS is a safe place for women.
The issues identified within the review; ranging from poor communication to the toleration of problematic behaviours, including sexual harassment and domestic abuse, paint a concerning picture of a culture that fails to prioritise the safety and respect of women. The report notes that behaviour, which includes criminal conduct, has previously been insufficiently addressed. This reflects a failure to uphold the values of the previously awarded White Ribbon accreditation.
We are pleased with the Welsh Government’s response which acknowledges the gravity of the situation by intervening directly with the service to take meaningful steps towards reform. It is imperative that survivors are supported, perpetrators are held accountable, and robust systems are implemented to prevent such abuses from occurring in the future. We commend their commitment to ensuring accountability and safeguarding within essential public services which exist to protect all our communities. We also hope that this sets a positive example for promoting a culture of accountability and respect across all sectors.
We stand in solidarity with survivors and reaffirm our dedication to ending all forms of gender-based violence. This moment underscores the urgent need for collective efforts to challenge harmful norms and create environments where respect and equality thrive to ensure change that lasts.
Anyone experiencing violence against women, domestic abuse or sexual violence, or abuse, or those concerned about somebody at risk – support is available to you now. Live Fear Free is a confidential and independent helpline that can provide advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 0808 80 10 800 / text 07860077333 / email [email protected].”
For more information, please contact Stephanie Grimshaw, Head of Public Affairs and Communications on [email protected]