Impact on policy
Ground-breaking work helps tackle violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales
Over several years Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales collaborated with Dr Amanda Robinson and Professor Emma Renold, Cardiff School of Social Sciences and a number of individuals and organisations including NSPCC, Welsh Women’s Aid, Children’s Commissioner for Wales and Citizen’s Cymru. The main aim of the collaboration was to provide academic input into the development of new policy and legislation for Wales to tackle violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Dr Robinson’s work involved a more formal placement within Welsh Government, providing a high level of advisory work during a formative period, including participating in a range of engagement activities with the public and key stakeholders. Professor Renold helped to establish a cross-party group critical to the project, and through her research and engagement strategies with children and young people, ensure that their voices were heard by Welsh Government.
A range of innovative communication strategies were used throughout the collaboration, including the Valentine’s Day Card campaign, which was praised as an innovative and creative way to engage Assembly Members, and successfully raised awareness and influenced opinion.
In 2015 the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act received royal assent. Very few countries have passed national-level legislation that is equivalent in its scope or aims. Additionally, the first National Adviser for Violence Against Women was recently appointed, an achievement several years in the making, and one that marks the beginning of this new period in Welsh history.
Dr Robinson's leadership of the Task and Finish Group led to her authorship of a lengthy evidence-based advisory report, which provided the blueprint for the White Paper. Professor Renold's engagement with over 1000 children and young people along with the aforementioned cross-party group “Children, Sexualities, Sexualisation and Equalities” which was chaired by Jocelyn Davies (AM), primarily influenced the Education proposals in the Bill.
The academics had a unique opportunity to observe the policy-making and legislative process and see first-hand how research evidence can be translated into policy and law. Welsh Government added credibility and scrutiny to the development of their policy proposals which informed the White Paper and went on to become the ground-breaking legislation.
Fundamentally the project demonstrates how the multi-layered ways in which universities, policy makers, the third sector, schools and young people can work successfully together to co-produce and effect political change. Professor Emma Renold, Professor in Childhood Studies, said: "The passage of this legislation marks a new period in Welsh history in which universities, policy makers, the third sector, schools and young people can work successfully together to co-produce and effect political change".