Welsh Women’s Aid Response to the Ending Violence against Women and Girls Strategy Refresh

Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes the Home Office refresh of the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy for England and Wales (published today) but says more needs to be done to prevent violence against women and girls in our communities.

Eleri Butler, CEO of Welsh Women’s Aid said:

“As the national charity working to end violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales, we support the need for criminal and family justice systems to be strengthened to benefit survivors of abuse, but this must be accompanied by investment into specialist services and improvements in practice by all agencies, so that no-one is turned away from vital help and support where and when they need it.

“At the moment, survivors of abuse are being failed by the systems and services in the public sector, as we’ve seen today with the reductions in volumes of police referrals, charges, prosecutions and convictions for rape and serious sexual assault cases. We welcome the Government review announced into the handling of rape cases, and the need for a greater focus on holding perpetrators accountable for their behaviour, which is long overdue. But this cannot be addressed in isolation.

“Survivors of abuse who report to the police or go through the family courts need access to independent specialist services in the community, as do the majority of survivors of abuse who do not report or disclose abuse to state services. In Wales, sexual violence and domestic abuse services, and specialist services for Black and minoritised women, are surviving on insufficient funds to meet the demand for support for their services.

“We call on governments in England and Wales to work together, to make a commitment to invest sustainable resources into provision in communities which meets the needs of women and girls who are most marginalised and discriminated against. Ultimately, no amount of strategies, plans and reviews will deliver what’s needed, until we see the political will and resources committed to the prevention and eradication of violence against all women and girls and into securing our liberation from sexism, racism, homophobia and other systems of oppressions that continues to blight our lives every day.”