Violence against women and girls – Welsh Government assessment
The introduction of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 (the VAWDASV Act) has resulted in public bodies prioritising these issues and raising awareness. But evidence suggests that women and girls’ human rights are still being violated. Evidence indicates that rates of domestic abuse increased during the coronavirus pandemic, and survivors struggle to access specialist support.
- There has been a significant increase in domestic abuse recorded by the police in Wales.
- The coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in domestic abuse in the UK.
- In Wales, reports to the national helpline Live Fear Free rose by 49% during the lockdown period and visits to the helpline website’s homepage increased from 690 in March 2020 to 1,683 in April 2020.
- There are ongoing concerns over the pace and consistency of implementation of the VAWDASV Act and the production of a delivery strategy.
- A review of Welsh Government’s progress in implementing the VAWDASV Act by the Welsh Audit Office (WAO) in November 2019 concluded that survivors ‘are often let down by an inconsistent, complex and fragmented system’.
- 512 survivors were turned away from specialist services in 2018/2019, mostly because of lack of capacity and resources to provide a service.
- The Welsh Government has failed to develop a sustainable funding strategy for survivor services and the pandemic has increased the sector’s concern over this issue.
- In 2018 we reported concerns over funding cuts experienced by specialist support services in Wales, with a lack of adequate funding for specialist children and young people services.
- It estimated that 77% of children and young people who experienced domestic abuse in 2018 received no specialist support.
- Despite the allocation of additional funding to support the sector in responding to the pandemic, there are still serious concerns that ethnic minority, migrant, disabled, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and older women face particular barriers to accessing non-specialist support, and that specialist organisations supporting these groups faced funding difficulties even before the pandemic.
Read more about the UK and Welsh Governments’ actions on violence against women and girls.