Press release /Datganiad i’r wasg
Thursday November 24th 2016
Responding to this week’s Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children on Friday’s ‘ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’, Shadow Communities Secretary Mark Isherwood called on the Welsh Government to detail the timeframe for delivery of the National Strategy on Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence.
He also emphasised the need to include the violence against women sector, victims and survivors themselves in developing the delivery plan.
Speaking in the Chamber, he said:
“Welsh Women’s Aid has, overall, welcomed the final strategy … But they’re now hoping to see the principles and priorities outlined in the strategy built into practice through an effective delivery plan that is co-produced and accompanied by sufficient resources to ensure it’s achievable.
“They’re hoping that the violence against women sector will be consulted on the development of the plan, but have not yet had a time frame and plan on how and when this will be done. While your statement, in large part, answers that, you state that ‘in the next 18 months’ you have plans to ‘Work with the sector and victims and survivors to develop a detailed delivery plan’, I wonder if you can be more precise. What is the time frame for the delivery plan, not just a consultation, but for it to be delivered and put in place? How will you ensure that it is co-produced with the violence against women sector and victims and survivors themselves?”
Mr Isherwood also questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children over healthy relationships education and his statement that ‘Statutory guidance on education will make Local Authorities designate a member of staff for the purpose of championing violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence matters in schools and other settings.’
He said “When Peter Black (Liberal Democrat), Jocelyn Davies (Plaid Cymru) and I campaigned together to have this matter strengthened, before the Act was passed, the then Minister’s correspondence stated that statutory guidance would provide or include provisions for approaches such as how schools could drive forward a whole-school approach by appointing a staff member, pupil and governor in these specific roles. He also said that he would involve stakeholders from the violence against women sector in developing the Donaldson proposals to ensure that healthy relationship education is developed within the curriculum. So, I wonder if you could comment, both in the context of a broader appointment of pupils and governors, but also how, more than just having a staff designated member, this is going to be incorporated into the curriculum, based on the Donaldson recommendations and proposals.”
Mr Isherwood referred to the NSPCC report ‘How safe are our children? 2016’, which reports a 26 per cent increase in the number of recorded sexual offences against children under 16 in Wales in the past year and asked the Cabinet Secretary to respond to the charity’s call for a comprehensive child sexual abuse prevention strategy for Wales.
He also referred to the Atal y Fro programme for pre-custodial male perpetrators of domestic violence, delivered in partnership with the Relate Cymru ‘Choose to Change’ scheme working in North Wales, the only accredited programme in Wales – and asked the Cabinet Secretary where the Welsh Government was up to in engaging with these projects. Atal y Fro is also developing pilot programmes for women and adolescent perpetrators.