Violence and domestic abuse
3 December 2012
Legislative proposals aimed at ending violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales have been informed by two Cardiff academics.
Dr Amanda Robinson of the School of Social Sciences and Professor Jonathan Shepherd of the School of Dentistry were part of the Welsh Government's Task and Finish Group for the Violence against Women and Domestic Abuse (Wales) Bill.
Domestic abuse alone is estimated to cost Wales more than £800 million each year. Launched by Minister for Local Government and Communities Carl Sargeant, the White Paper sends a clear message that early intervention is necessary to prevent both a huge financial burden on public services and also reduce the devastating emotional and physical impact on victims.
The intention of the Bill is to put the following three specific themes on a legal footing:
- Stronger leadership across Public Sector Services in Wales that is independent, can monitor and challenge performance, and provide a strategic overview
- Better education and awareness from 'cradle to grave', which includes the public, frontline staff and professionals
- Strengthening and integrating services that are consistent, effective and of a quality standard.
Proposals within these three areas include the appointment of an Independent Ministerial Adviser for Ending Violence Against Women (the first appointment of its kind in the UK); ensuring education on healthy relationships is delivered in all schools; an independent review of services for victims to inform future funding and strategic direction; the development of a National Training Framework to ensure a consistent approach to the training of frontline staff across Wales and a duty to be placed on public sector employers to have a workplace policy for violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Dr Amanda Robinson played a key role within the Task and Finish Group, and was the lead author of a substantial evidence-based report which has been published alongside the Welsh Government's White Paper. Speaking about her involvement Dr Robinson said: "This Bill has been widely anticipated across the UK, Europe and beyond, both for its symbolic value and its practical content. Welsh Government is setting a pioneering example in which we can all be proud. My involvement in the legislative process has been both fascinating and a privilege, and one that I look forward to continuing."
Professor Shepherd, a surgeon who directs the University's violence research group, said, "This has been a welcome chance to transfer new knowledge generated by the University rapidly and directly into government policy. Our new processes for increasing detection in A&E of people injured in domestic violence, and for providing the privacy they so badly need, are important examples which have wide benefits."