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17 May, 2019

WAVE Step Up! Campaign – Responses from MEP Candidates

This year, as part of the WAVE Step Up! Campaign we have been asking Members of the European Parliament in Wales what their actions will be on creating a Wales which is free from violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Candidates below are in order of responses received.

Here are the questions:

  1. How much did you contribute so far towards strengthening women’s human rights, especially the right to live a life free from violence and all forms of oppression?
  2. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?
  3. Should you be elected as a MEP, how important is it for you to contribute towards ensuring the Istanbul Convention will be fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries?
  4. Should you be elected, how important would be for you to fully recognise and support NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women?
  5. Please provide a short explanation of how you would ensure such NGOs can work safely and free from harassment in your country?
  6. As a MEP, would you prioritize the issue of ensuring that women have full control over and can decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights?

Here are the responses which we received:

Alistair Cameron, Liberal Democrats 

1. How much did you contribute so far towards strengthening women’s human rights, especially the right to live a life free from violence and all forms of oppression?

(5 = very much; 1 = nothing)

4

Please give a few concrete examples:

I have not served as an MEP previously. However, when I was Chair of the Housing Committee on Cheltenham Borough Council a while ago I did support setting up the first Women’s Refuge in Cheltenham. I also supported individual housing cases to help women who were the victims of violence.

2. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?

5

Please provide a few examples on what you are planning to contribute in this area:

2a. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?

5

2b. Please provide a few examples on what you are planning to contribute in this area:

I support the ratification by Britain of the Istanbul Convention. In order to ensure the IC is implemented we need to provide enough Rape Crises Centres in the UK and that there is enough provision for women to receive counselling and support. We are still a long way from this and we need to ensure the necessary resources are provided to enable this to happen.

3. Should you be elected as a MEP, how important is it for you to contribute towards ensuring the Istanbul Convention will be fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries?

5
It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Istanbul Convention is fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries. I will do everything in my power to ensure this happens.

4a. Should you be elected, how important would be for you to fully recognise and support NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women?

5

It is extremely important to ensure that NGOs are fully recognised and supported in order for them to work towards ending and preventing violence against women.

4b. Please provide a short explanation of how you would ensure such NGOs can work safely and free from harassment in your country?

NGOs need to have the full protection of the law to ensure they can work safely and free from harassment. I will do everything I can to give them the necessary support for this.

5. As a MEP, would you prioritize the issue of ensuring that women have full control over and can decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights?

Women need to have full control over and be able to decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights. I will make this a priority and give women every support in this.

 

Ceri Davies, The Green Party

1. How much did you contribute so far towards strengthening women’s human rights, especially the right to live a life free from violence and all forms of oppression?

(5 = very much; 1 = nothing)

5

1a. Please give a few concrete examples:

I feel this has to be a top priority for all as I believe it should be for people regardless of gender. However I am also conscious of the patriarchal society in which we live and the continued need to address the issues women face in society. I have had a career in public policy and have sought to address these issues in the work and policies I have been involved with ensuring that women are not disadvantaged in anyway. On a more personal basis I have had relatives that have been affected in this area and have worked to ensure the issues that they have faced and worked to address I have been as supportive as possible. This is easily said but as a father of two young daughters I am committed to ensuring they grow into a world that further addresses the issues the historic patriarchal society has delivered.

2a. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?

5

2b. Please provide a few examples on what you are planning to contribute in this area:

Violence against anyone cannot be tolerated in a civilised society and addressing and supporting specific areas such as domestic violence and violence against woman has to be a key feature of tackling this problem. If elected I would look to engage with the knowledge, skills and experience to advise me on the most appropriate assistance an MEP can give. My history in public policy means I have a very real desire not to act in haste or make promises I cannot keep, but to listen and make decisions based on evidence and advice.

3. Should you be elected as a MEP, how important is it for you to contribute towards ensuring the Istanbul Convention will be fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries?

5

5. – My apologies here as it’s a limited answer, but I am not as familiar with the Istanbul Convention as I should be and in the time I now have to reply to you I won’t be able to undertake the detailed research required. However my recollection that this is a convention on violence against women and domestic violence, I without reading the detail would support its ratification.

4a. Should you be elected, how important would be for you to fully recognise and support NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women?

5 – Support for such bodies in this important area would be an important aspect of my position.

4b. Please provide a short explanation of how you would ensure such NGOs can work safely and free from harassment in your country?

I would like to think that such organisations can operate in this way in the UK already and if not would look to the responsible bodies such as the police and legal system to ensure that this is the case.

5. As a MEP, would you prioritize the issue of ensuring that women have full control over and can decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights?

5 – Yes, I believe women should have full control in this area.

Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru

1. 5

1a. I have supported many initiatives and always voted in favour of strengthening women’s human rights. As a former Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Women’s Rights Committee I spoke at several conferences and seminars on combatting violence against women and actively promoted the White Ribbon campaign.

2a. 5

2b. I would continue to raise the profile of these issues in the European Parliament and through my political group – Greens/European Free Alliance. We support gender parity and economic independence for women and comprehensive EU equality legislation to ensure rights to social protection.

3. 5

4a. 5

4b. Throughout my time as an MEP I have highly valued the work of Women’s Aid and other NGOs which make a huge contribution to ensuring policy makers understand the issues and act appropriately. Together with my colleagues I would draw attention to any examples of harassment and demand action.

5. 5

Jackie Jones, Labour 

1. How much did you contribute so far towards strengthening women’s human rights, especially the right to live a life free from violence and all forms of oppression?

5

1a. Please give a few concrete examples:

I taught law for 20 years Cardiff Law School and the University of the West of England. In that role, I rose to become Professor. My focus was human rights, migration, employment and equality laws and ending violence against women and girls. I mentored staff and students in these areas. I researched and wrote about the practical and positive use of law to advance the rights of people, devolution, human trafficking and equality.

I am immediate past President of European Women Lawyers Association. As President for four years and an officer beforehand, I met and successfully lobbied many European politicians, civil servants and Commissioners for positive change for women in positions of leadership, Artificial Intelligence, women on company boards as well as fundamental rights.

As part of my work in these areas I have also I have given oral evidence at the Equalities Committee of the Assembly and at two All Party Parliamentary Groups in Westminster and the European Union Gender Institute.

2a. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?

5

2b. Please provide a few examples on what you are planning to contribute in this area:

Whether I am a MEP for five days, five months or five years – I will continue to work will continue to work on all aspects of women’s human rights and ending violence against women and girls. As I have done professionally and personally, throughout my life.

3. Should you be elected as a MEP, how important is it for you to contribute towards ensuring the Istanbul Convention will be fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries?

5

Labour has a strong record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms that we can be proud of. However, more can be done. Labour will maintain its commitment to ratify the Istanbul Convention on domestic abuse. It is shameful the UK remains one of only a handful of countries in the EU not to have ratified the convention.

As Chair of Wales Assembly of Women I was part of the coalition lobbying for the Istanbul Convention to be ratified at Westminster level. In Wales, I have been working with others to ensure the Istanbul Convention is incorporated into Welsh laws and policies.

4a. Should you be elected, how important would be for you to fully recognise and support NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women?

5

4b. Please provide a short explanation of how you would ensure such NGOs can work safely and free from harassment in your country?

As a former President of European Women Lawyers Association – pan-European Non-Governmental Organisation that lobbies for women’s rights in the Council of Europe and the European Union – I know how vital NGOs are to developing research and influencing all levels of government. They are an important part of civic society and it is very important that they can work free from harassment across Europe and beyond. I would be happy to work with the EU Commission, EU Parliament and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure this happens.

5. As a MEP, would you prioritize the issue of ensuring that women have full control over and can decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights?

Absolutely. We must defend women’s reproductive rights and work to extend right across Europe, including to Northern Ireland.

Mary Wimbury, Labour 

1. How much did you contribute so far towards strengthening women’s human rights, especially the right to live a life free from violence and all forms of oppression?

4

1a. Please give a few concrete examples:

As a feminist I have always sought to stand up for human rights. My focus has been on ensuring women’s voices are heard in the political sphere and that they are enabled to campaign on issues that predominantly affect women such as living free from violence and oppression. I have supported measures such as all women shortlists to ensure women hold elected positions and have been part of a campaign to ensure complaints procedures including but not solely around sexual harassment within my political party are fair and accessible to women. I spoke on this as part of a panel with Stella Creasy MP and the Labour Women’s Network at a political conference last year. I also presented at the Women’s Event at Welsh Labour conference about encouraging more women to participate in politics.

2a. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?

4

2b. Please provide a few examples on what you are planning to contribute in this area:

I support the PES’ manifesto proposal to develop a binding EU Gender Equality Strategy, through which we will continue to lead the fight to combat sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

3. Should you be elected as a MEP, how important is it for you to contribute towards ensuring the Istanbul Convention will be fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries?

4a. Should you be elected, how important would be for you to fully recognise and support NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women?

4b. Please provide a short explanation of how you would ensure such NGOs can work safely and free from harassment in your country?

My first commitment would be to meet NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women and ask what they needed. I would also seek to take the experience from Wales’ ground-breaking legislation in this area and to share with colleagues across the EU, as well as learn from them.

5. As a MEP, would you prioritize the issue of ensuring that women have full control over and can decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights?

5

Jon Jones, Change UK

In my retirement I have become a volunteer as a Victim Support counsellor. In that capacity I have to deal with the problem of violence against women all to often. As an MP for 13 years I also had many cases involving Women’s Aid centres… As an MP and a councillor I have always voted in favour of women`s reproductive rights and in support of Women’s Aid.

 

June Davies, Change UK

1. How much did you contribute so far towards strengthening women’s human rights, especially the right to live a life free from violence and all forms of oppression?

This is a top priority for me – 5

1a. Please give a few concrete examples:

Healthy Relationships – Education is vital and the new welsh curriculum should reflect this more .As a teacher I play and continue to play a significant role in educating young women including ethnic minorities and have played an active role in educating about sexual consent and sexual harassment, female genital mutilation including developing support sessions on equal rights, psychological bullying, managing social media effectively and discrimination. Safeguarding is a core role of my day to day job as a teacher in a school which specialises in supporting young persons with additional educational needs and as this falls under confidentiality policies I cannot disclose specific examples of cases I can confirm that I have significant experience in referral and counselling of vulnerable young persons in South Wales and am dedicated to supporting young vulnerable people face significant challenges caused by abuse.

I actively promote awareness of mental health issues affecting young people campaigning for improved funding and a more joined up approach to bringing different support networks together .Mental health services are not meeting the need and must be improved using legislative instruments. I teach personal finance and Business and speak at enterprise support networks and local groups to develop skills in business enterprise to promote business start ups and lifestyle businesses that can support single parents. I am particularly concerned to raise confidence and self esteem of 14-21 year olds.

I am also encouraging more women to get involved in politics and campaigning through 50/50 parliament events and through empowering women to get involved in networks and community groups to stand for office and share their stories.

2a. Should you be elected, how much effort will you contribute towards helping to end violence against women?

5 – Another top priority

I will use my role to promote understanding and awareness of support groups and networks in Wales and campaign to address the underlying causes of domestic violence and supporting NGO and charities that wish to develop innovative local projects and improve legislative and practical support for those affected by domestic violence.

ESF/ Communities First European funding has been vital in building inclusion in Wales and Brexit must not put Horizon 20/20 and future projects at risk.

2b. Please provide a few examples on what you are planning to contribute in this area:

I will work towards improving access to legal aid and criminalising all forms of violence . Education programmes must be introduced and outreach interventions must be well funded. I am committed to Developing and improving support networks for victims and those at risk and helping them take back control. I plan to raise awareness of charitable and not for profit organisations including Welsh Women’s Aid, Stonewall , Shelter Cymru , SEREN and Safer Wales speaking at events and supporting campaigns for mental health awareness in young people .

Single parents and unmarried partners are at significant risks when relationships break up and welfare legislation needs to be introduced to enable financial independence for women to ensure that they are free from poverty and exploitation. EU funded programmes play a vital role and funding must be in place to support progressive support networks. We must make sure that those who are affected can lead financially secure to rebuild independent lives.

3. Should you be elected as a MEP, how important is it for you to contribute towards ensuring the Istanbul Convention will be fully ratified and implemented by the EU and its member countries?

5

I support both the adoption and the full ratification of the Istanbul convention by the United Kingdom .There is no reason for the UK not to ratify the Istanbul Convention priorities. I believe that the Welsh Government, Parliament and MEP’s have an important role to play in enabling this vital legislative instrument. In Wales I believe there is scope for devolution of the justice system and we should remain in the EU to develop European wide laws to uphold the convention. The UK must not be allowed to prevaricate on this matter and should lead the road to active enforcement of the Istanbul Convention .

4a. Should you be elected, how important would be for you to fully recognise and support NGOs who are working towards ending and preventing violence against women?

5

NGO’s need continuing access to funding and resourcing to enable work to continue effectively and I believe that Change UK is a party that can play an important role in raising the profile and funding issues that face NGO’s by getting elected into government .

4b. Please provide a short explanation of how you would ensure such NGOs can work safely and free from harassment in your country

In Wales the Wellbeing of future Generations Act can be used, promoted and advocated in the UK Parliament and promoted in other European countries as a best practice legislative instrument to enhance existing support in the public and private sector to underpin Equality legislation and bring the issues of harassment, support and rehabilitation of affected stakeholders in the public and private sector. We need to Work together across all sectors and across all parties develop awareness and understanding of the issues affecting women and minority groups both in domestic settings and in the context of international relations and aid.

Wellbeing projects and education about the issues in the scope of the convention are essential in delivering this.

We need to promote understanding of issues affecting victims of abuse and harassment in the workplace to ensure that at risk individuals are provided with job opportunities and training. Proactive social inclusion policies should be adopted by employers and education providers.
Ending zero hours contracts and insecure work is vitally important to support and re-habilitate the wellbeing of vulnerable women. Housing, skills and education providers should work with specialised charities and NGO’s . I believe all agencies should collaborate to develop projects at a local and regional level based on need identified. Local authorities should work cross functionally with all local, regional and national partnership organisations and lead these initiatives so that beneficiaries can be supported in the long term.

5. As a MEP, would you prioritize the issue of ensuring that women have full control over and can decide freely in relation to their reproductive rights?

4

We must not allow access to women’s rights to be eroded by political parties wishing to polarise our society and we must particularly protect those who are vulnerable such as disabled persons and those who are at risk of homelessness by cross agency partnership working.

We must educate and inform to remove the root causes of abuse and violence.

*Welsh Women’s Aid contacted all party groups, but unfortunately did not have a response from the Conservative Party, UKIP or The Brexit Party. 

Rydym yn chwilio am hyfforddwr arbenigol sydd â gwybodaeth ragorol am atal trais yn erbyn menywod a rôl gwasanaethau wrth ymateb i oroeswyr. Cewch wybod mwy yma: welshwomensaid.org.uk/joinus

About 2 hours ago from WelshWomensAid's Twitter