Latest News

  • New regulations on housing benefit for refuge residents

    As flagged up in WWA's newsletters, changes to Housing Benefit rules for refuge residents (previously defined as 'exempt accommodation') have now been published.

    They include a broader definition that should include most refuge services. This is good news and represents the results of more than eighteen months work for Welsh Women's Aid and its members which has included liaison with other supported housing stakeholders, letters and meetings with the Department for Work and Pensions, and written evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

  • Legal Aid Update: Evidence Gateway Widened for victims of Domestic Abuse

    Back in 2013 changes to family law legal aid meant that many people were no longer able to access legal help, although victims of domestic violence were still allowed access through the 'Domestic Violence Gateway' which allowed a limited number of limited types of 'evidence'.
    Welsh Women's Aid and Women's Aid Federation England teamed up with Rights of Women to campaign for the Ministry of Justice to campaign for a widening of these evidence types, which evidence from our members showed was acting as a barrier for many women trying to flee domestic abuse.

    As of the 22nd of April 2014 the Ministry of Justice has announced that new evidence that will be accepted for women affected by violence to access legal aid, including evidence of police bail for a domestic violence offence, a Domestic Violence Protection Order, evidence of referral to domestic violence support services from a health professional and evidence of not being able to access refuge accommodation.

  • UN Special Rapporteur for VAW visits Wales

    WWA is honoured to be hosting a meeting between the VAW third sector in Wales and the visiting UN Special Rapporteur for VAW, Rashida Manjoo, who is visiting the UK on an official mission this month.

    If you would like to take part in the meeting, which is being held on the 10th of April 2pm at WWA's offices, please email TinaReece@welshwomensaid.org.uk

  • WWA response to HMIC report on domestic abuse

    Although much of it makes for stark and concerning reading, Welsh Women's Aid welcomes today's report released by HMIC 'Everyone's Business: Improving the Police Response to Domestic Abuse'.

    For many years Welsh Women's Aid have remained concerned by some Police responses to domestic abuse, which has often been treated as a second class crime. This situation has eroded victim confidence and led to very real issues of safety for women and children escaping abuse.

  • Launch of ‘Domestic Violence Protection Notices/Orders’ (DVPOs) and the ‘Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme’ (DVDS/Clare’s Law)

    National rollout from March 2014

    As part of an attempt to better protect victims of domestic abuse, the Police will be implementing these two new policies as of next month. WWA cautiously welcomes these two new tools for dealing with DA/V, but urges extreme care be taken in regards to whether these options are always the safest or most appropriate options. WWA instead urges renewed focus on the foundations of strong and sensitive basic Police responses to DA/V, alongside information sharing and partnership working with specialist organisations such as WWA.

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It is estimated that around 3 million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation, trafficking and other forms of violence every year. This is the equivalent to the population of Wales.

Report of the Secretary General, 2006

At least 12 women die each year in the UK as a result of 'honour'-based killing

Fawcett Society (2009)

What is Violence Against Women?

'Any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life’ - 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Violence Against Women Covers

•         Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is the actual or threatened physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial abuse of a woman by a partner, family member or someone with whom there is, or has been, a close relationship. This abuse also relates to the perpetrator allowing or causing a child to witness, or be at risk of witnessing, domestic abuse."

•         Sexual Violence, abuse and exploitationRape Crisis / SARC

Sexual violence includes a range of different behaviours, many of which - such as sexual assault or rape - are crimes. Sexual abuse is often a component of domestic violence - for example, partners and former partners may use force, threats or intimidation to engage in sexual activity; they may taunt or use degrading treatment related to sexuality, force the use of pornography, or force their partners to have sex with other people.  Rape and sexual assault are crimes, whether or not they take place within marriage or between partners or ex-partners.

•         Stalking and harassment –  Protection Against Stalking

Stalking is a form of harassment generally comprised of repeated persistent following with no legitimate reason and with the intention of harming, or so as to arouse anxiety or fear of harm in the person being followed. Stalking may also take the form of harassing telephone calls, computer communications, letter-writing, etc

•         TraffickingBAWSO / Poppy Project

Sexual Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation (within national or across international borders),transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.  Sexual trafficking is accomplished by means of fraud, deception, threat of or use of force, abuse of a position of vulnerability, and other forms of coercion

•         Female Genital MutilationBAWSO / Forward

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

•         Forced MarriageBAWSO Henna Foundation / Forced Marriage Unit

A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without valid consent of one or both parties, and some form of duress is involved. This could be emotional pressure – for example, parents may insist that rejection of this marriage partner would bring shame to the family; or arrangements for marriage might be made (perhaps abroad) without intended bride being told the purpose of the trip.

•         Crimes committed in the name of honourBAWSOHenna Foundation

Honour Based Violence can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and / or community members. Examples may include murder, un-explained death (suicide), fear of or actual forced marriage, controlling sexual activity, domestic abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse), child abuse, rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, threats to kill, assault, harassment, forced abortion. This list is not exhaustive.

VAW denies women and girls the most fundamental human rights- life, liberty, bodily integrity, freedom of movement and dignity of the person.