Assembly passes ground-breaking Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill

Landmark legislation to tackle Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill has been passed in the Senedd.

It is the first legislation of its kind in the UK and the only law of its kind in Europe to include a specific focus on Violence against Women.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews asked Assembly Members to support the “strong and powerful” piece of legislation which will prevent abuse and protect and support survivors in Wales.

He said:

“This is crucial legislation which puts Wales at the forefront in tackling this appalling crime. One in four women in Wales has suffered violence or abuse in a relationship and every year, 150 women die in the UK at the hands of their partner or former partner.

“Since the Bill was introduced, the Welsh Government strengthened it in response to suggestions from the sector and from opposition parties.

“Now the Bill is on its way to becoming an Act, it will help prevent Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence and protect and support survivors. It will undoubtedly make a very real difference to vulnerable people in Wales.

“I am delighted the Bill has been passed, it will save lives.”

Eleri Butler, CEO of Welsh Women’s Aid said:

“Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes this new legislation which we believe will help us achieve social and cultural change in Wales to prevent domestic abuse, sexual violence and all forms of violence against women.

“With so many women still being killed across the UK as a result of suspected male violence, it is vitally important to make sure that public services like health, housing and social services have a duty to prevent such abuse from happening in the first place.

“We are hopeful that this legislation will ensure prevention is everyone’s core business, promoting a whole education and community approach to healthy relationships education, overseen by a National Advisor.

“The Bill will also require agencies to work together to change attitudes and behaviour and to encourage earlier identification and more effective responses to all survivors of violence and abuse, so that more lives can be saved.”