Today, on White Ribbon Day, Wales’ National Advisers on violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV) release their annual plan detailing their objectives and priorities for the financial year commencing 1 April 2021.
The UK-wide White Ribbon campaign aims to raise awareness of male violence towards women.
The white ribbon symbol represents the conviction that abuse, no matter what form it takes, is unacceptable. This year, the message is more important than ever with a significant increase in violence, harassment and abuse towards women during the coronavirus pandemic.
On White Ribbon Day, thousands of ambassadors stand up, speak out and say no to violence against women.
Nazir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor who took a lead role in the Rochdale sex trafficking prosecution case, and Yasmin Khan, founder of a charity tackling honour-based violence, have been the Welsh Government’s National Advisers since January 2018.
Yasmin and Nazir advise the Welsh Government on how most effectively to implement the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015. They also work with victims and survivors and with partner organisations to shape and inform improvements in the way services are planned, commissioned and delivered.
Their annual plan sets out objectives and priorities for 2021 to 2022. It also reflects on the challenges being faced, and the action needed, across Wales.
Jane Hutt said:
I am very grateful to our brilliant National Advisers for their expertise and advice. In Wales, as across the world, too many women experience domestic abuse and sexual violence every day. We will not be bystanders.
By working together, delivering education, raising awareness and challenging the inequalities and negative attitudes which contribute to violence and abuse, we can bring about change.
The Welsh Government is committed to ending violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. We will not rest until Wales is the safest place for women in Europe.
Yasmin Khan said:
It is five years since the VAWDASV (Wales) Act 2015 was passed, and it remains the benchmark by which legislation on gender-based violence is measured across the United Kingdom.
Our main objective in the last annual plan was to see whether a public health approach to VAWDASV could work and be embedded across Wales; it remains our main objective in the coming year.
We believe prevention is the key to eliminating VAWDASV, and that education is at its heart. Greater awareness, increased specialism and expertise, multi-agency prevention work, building victim confidence, working with perpetrators to help them change their behaviour, and education to change attitudes are the key to reducing and thereby eventually eliminating the abuse that we have to deal with. Wales remains at the forefront of what can be achieved.
In his White Ribbon Ambassador video, National Adviser Nazir Afzal said:
1 in 4 women will suffer domestic abuse and 1 in 5 will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime; more than half of women are sexually harassed during their career; 3 women will take their own lives, and 2 women will die every week because of domestic abuse. During the current Covid pandemic there has been a seismic increase in the amount of domestic abuse, sexual violence and violence against women.
Now, more than ever, we need people to stand up against domestic abuse. Being a White Ribbon ambassador is a way of saying that you will make a difference. And if you act differently, rest assured, lives will be saved.