Violence Against Women bill: survivor hails ‘historic’ move
A landmark bill aimed at tackling violence against women is passed into law in Wales – requiring local authorities to improve support for victims.
The Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act comes into force after months of wrangling over how children should be taught about the issue in schools.
Opposition Assembly Members withdrew their threat to stop the bill and the Assembly passed it unanimously after the government made concessions over education for healthy relationships.
The bill places duties on ministers, councils and health boards to publish strategies aimed at ending domestic abuse, gender-based violence and sexual violence.
But the day of the bill’s passing was marked by a political row over claims campaigners were leaned on by the Welsh Government to lobby the opposition not to block the bill.
Rachel Williams, who has first-hand experience of domestic violence, told Channel 4 News that it is a moment in history, but it was “the first step forward”.
The 43-year-old mother escaped with her life after Darren Williams burst into Newport’s Carol Ann’s Hair Stylist with a double-barreled shotgun and blasted her legs. He then fled and subsequently hung himself.
Ms Williams, whose 16-year-old son Jack hanged himself after his father’s actions, said that she did not want his death to be in vain.
“I lost a 16-year-old son as part of domestic abuse. So I want things put in place and I think we will see a difference,” she said.
Cathy Owens, of Deryn public affairs consultancy, who has fronted the Wales Violence Against Women Action Group of charities campaigning on the bill, said: “We are proud to have run a positive campaign and that all AMs have listened to what we had to say, and now our focus will be on making sure the Act helps reduce violence against women in Wales.”