The Welsh Women’s Aid National Quality Service Standards (NQSS) are a set of accredited criteria for dedicated specialist services addressing domestic abuse. They enable these services to evidence their quality and impact. Embodying the principles of participation, transparent governance and needs-led service delivery, they set out the standard of service provision needed for survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse, and sexual violence. For funders and commissioners of specialist services, the Standards serve as a robust and independent quality assurance mechanism. They are made up of clear benchmarks for what holistic, high-quality, needs-led, strength-based, and gender-responsive specialist services can – and should – look like.
The National Quality Service Standards also support the delivery of key legislation and guidance in relation to responding effectively to domestic abuse. They have been mapped against, for example, the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 statutory guidance and the national training framework. They also take into account non-devolved strategic approaches from the Home Office and Ministry of Justice as well as EU and internationally recognised standards for preventative, protective, and supportive service provision.
In 2022, having aligned the National Quality Service Standards and associated assessment process to become compliant with IAQF, Welsh Women’s Aid was granted IAQF Wales Approved Accrediting Body status. Consequently, specialist domestic abuse services who apply for and are eventually awarded the Welsh Women’s Aid National Quality Service Standards Quality Mark will have demonstrated they also meet the criteria to be simultaneously awarded the IAQF Quality Mark.