New violence against women strategy
It was very welcoming to see the recent publication of the One Wales government’s strategy for dealing with violence against women. I have been campaigning for a publicity campaign to challenge attitudes to violence against women for many years now. I am extremely pleased that the Welsh government is now delivering this. It is clear from the strategy that has been published that the Welsh government has listened to the responses to the consultation stage and have taken these on board and have made several appropriate changes to the draft strategy. There is a massive amount of work to be done on this issue. We know that one in four women will suffer domestic abuse, but we also know that many women still do not report abuse and this is a huge issue. The other problem that we need to overcome is that so many women accept what is happening to them. We need to challenge the attitudes that prevent women from coming forward and that allow people to think that this violence is acceptable. A publicity campaign to challenge attitudes is a big step forward in this direction. The budget that has been announced for the strategy is also to be welcomed. It is vital that all the different government departments involved work together effectively. This is not just a matter for the social justice Minister and his department; the education, health and housing departments also have a fundamental role to play. Furthermore it is essential that the Welsh government works closely with non-devolved, Westminster departments such as the CPS, courts, police, immigration and Work and Pensions. Local Government will also have a key role; councils will need to be given targets and clear policy direction from the Welsh government. All of us in society have a responsibility to challenge violence against women, but government must lead the way.
Nerys Evans - Plaid Cymru AM for Mid and west Wales