CAMPAIGNERS tackling "epidemic" levels of domestic abuse in Wales have branded a six-point plan outlined by the Welsh Government to tackle the issue "bold".

Welsh Women's Aid say they will need to see some substance to back up the proposals, outlined this week by minister for social justice Jane Hutt - and that the onus should be put on perpetrators, not victims.

The Welsh government's new six-point Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Strategy contains the following commitments:

  1. Challenge attitudes to violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence by raising awareness of its impact and consequences;
  2. Increase awareness of the importance of safe, equal and healthy relationships;
  3. Hold those who commit abuse to account and help people who carry out abusive or violent behaviour to change;
  4. Prioritise early intervention and prevention;
  5. Provide training to professionals so they are equipped to give effective, timely and appropriate support to victims and survivors;
  6. Provide all victims with equal access to properly-resourced, high-quality support services, wherever they live in Wales.


Unveiling the plan, Ms Hutt said: "We are committing to making Wales the safest place for women to live fear free. We want to end violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales.

"In committing to this, we must be ambitious, violence against women is not inevitable."

While they welcome the plan in priciple, Welsh Women's Aid have taken a more pragmatic stance.

Chief executive Sara Kirkpatrick said: “The Welsh Government’s notion of making Wales ‘the safest place in Europe to be a woman’ is a bold one when we consider the reality of epidemic rates of violence and abuse that far too many are experiencing - such as many migrant survivors who are still unable to access even fundamental levels of sanctuary and safety.

“More than 50 women have been murdered here in Wales, and tens of thousands more have become survivors of violence and abuse since the Welsh government published the first VAWDASV Act in 2015.

“The majority of murdered women were killed by men, who were known to them and trusted by them."

Ms Kirkpatrick stressed that the onus in tackling the problem of violence and abuse towards women should be taken away from the women who themselves are the victims of such abuse.

She said the focus should instead be "placed on those perpetrating toxic and dangerous behaviour".

Ms Hutt called for unity on the issue, saying that “only a united front, from all sections of society can help us achieve these ambitions".

"I’m appealing to everyone today, to commit to ending the abuse, ending the fear and helping us towards achieving a Wales where everyone can truly live fear free," she said.

"For some people, this will be uncomfortable, because it challenges what has been seen as ‘normal’ for so long.

"Ending violence against women will not be easy.

"If we take a Team Wales approach we can – and will – succeed.”

However, while supporting Ms Hutt's ambition, Welsh Women's Aid said: "We need to witness substance in the actions and accountability of the delivery to this strategy that match it and a sustainably funded sector that is equipped to deliver it.”