Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities
The First Minister’s legislative statement in July 2012 confirmed the intention to issue a White Paper consultation on an Ending Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse Bill. The statement supported the Programme for Government Commitment (Chapter 7) to introduce a Domestic Abuse Bill.
I plan to publish on Monday 26 November a White Paper Consultation on policy and legislative proposals aimed at ending violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. The proposals focus on three specific areas; improving leadership and accountability, improving education and awareness, and strengthening services in Wales.
The Welsh Government believes that everyone in Wales has the right to live in a safe community, free from violence and abuse. In order to achieve this we need to tackle the enduring social problem of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence. We know that this affects people from all backgrounds and impacts on the lives of a large number of people in Wales.
The Welsh Government has already made a commitment through the Strategic Equality Plan to embed and mainstream equality and inclusion into public authorities’ everyday thinking. This White Paper forms part of the fourth Equality Objective which focuses on how we can foster good relations between people and reduce the incidence of violence against women, domestic abuse, hate crime, bullying, ‘honour’ based violence and elder abuse.
The development of the White Paper has been informed by the invaluable insights we have received from a range of stakeholders. A Ministerial Task and Finish Group was established in early 2012 to inform the initial policy development and scope of the proposed legislation. The group provided a report in late August 2012, which has been used to inform the development of the White Paper. To complement the work of the group, the Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse Team also undertook 3 engagement events across Wales, which involved over 300 individuals, including specialist sector groups and service users. The purpose of the engagement was to gain a service user and service provider perspective on the gaps that the proposed legislation could potentially address.
The White Paper Consultation sets out the policy and legislative proposals which I believe will help us take significant steps forward in achieving the aim of ending violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The Consultation will be published and available on the Welsh Government website on 26 November 2012.
The consultation will end on 22 February 2012 and I will be considering the responses to determine the next steps.