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Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice

First published:
24 May 2022
Last updated:

Today we are launching our second Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) National Strategy. It will cover the period to the end of this administration in 2026. It is marked by a commitment to tackle cause as well as effect.

This strategy is an opportunity for the Welsh Government and its partners in the public, private and third sectors to take action to tackle male violence, gender inequality and misogyny head on.

Ambition lies at the heart of this strategy. Whilst there are successful actions and interventions we want to continue, we have defined new priorities and approaches to expand and accelerate our response and address VAWDASV as a whole system.

Our Programme for Government set our well-being objective to celebrate diversity and eliminate inequality in all its form. This strategy and the work that will follow will make a significant contribution to this and our collective vision to end violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales. We must challenge societal norms, attitudes and beliefs as these are what perpetuate, excuse and legitimise VAWDASV. We may not end VAWDASV during the life of this strategy but by setting our sights this high we may well achieve our aim to make Wales the safest place in Europe to be a woman, to undermine the environment in which domestic abuse takes place and to de-normalise sexual harassment and violence, and the behaviours which enable it, in all parts of our society.

Wales has made significant progress in tackling VAWDASV and we have a right to be proud of our record: of the public authorities who have worked tirelessly to create an environment where VAWDASV is challenged; of the delivery partners who offer support through services which are responsive and values driven; and of the survivors who have offered their voice and perspective to help others by informing the way we, as devolved and non-devolved bodies, improve together.

This is an all-Wales strategy defining and leading action within all parts of the Welsh public sector. It depends on collaboration, a key feature of our Well-being of Future Generations way of working, and the preventative way of working is seen in how the actions in the plan seek to tackle the root causes of VAWDASV.It is a strategy for public authorities and the third sector setting out priorities to create a collective sense of endeavour towards a shared vision and will make a contribution to our collective well-being goals, in particular a more equal Wales and healthier Wales.. It is also a strategy for business and wider society to make the changes to norms, behaviours and cultures, which will lie at the root of achieving our ambitions. This strategy seeks to end VAWDASV and therefore must take a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary approach including the voices of experts by experience at its heart.

Ending VAWDASV is a complex challenge, involving many facets and issues affecting cause and effect for survivors and their families, perpetrators of abuse and those bodies with a duty to act whether that is legal or moral. Our whole Wales approach can only be effective if all parties feel a sense of ownership of the strategy and commitment to the shared endeavour necessary to achieve our vision.

Making this strategy a living document will take leadership at all levels and in all parts of the system. Leadership from politicians and leaders at all levels in public service, the specialist VAWDASV services, survivors and wider civic society. Leadership in business, the care sector and education and as individuals taking responsibility to be empowered and supported to lead the change we need in society, to challenge and educate.

The Strategy will be delivered through a multi-agency blueprint approach overseen by the new National Partnership Board that I will co-chair with Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn. The involvement of survivors will be integral throughout the blueprint structure to scrutinise actions and decisions as the new approach evolves.