On the 28th September I started in my new role as National Adviser for Violence against Women, Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence – the first role of its kind in the UK and in this, my first blog, I wanted to explain more about the role and its purpose.
The role is a Statutory Adviser role, independent of Welsh Government and Welsh Ministers, with the purpose of bringing an informed, expert and independent perspective on work being taken forward and to shape and inform policy and legislative developments.
In my role I will advise, assist and support Welsh Ministers to deliver the purpose of the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.
This ground breaking legislation provides the strategic focus to improve the arrangements for the prevention, protection and support for individuals across Wales affected by such violence and abuse. The Act applies to all individuals and includes all forms of Violence against Women; Sexual Violence, Domestic Abuse, Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation.
The Act includes duties relating to the development, consultation and implementation of National and Local Strategies, provisions relating to Education and the issuing of guidance to relevant authorities. The role of the National Adviser is included within Sections 20 – 23 of the Act.
In line with the provisions of the Act I will, over the coming months be developing an Annual Plan, outlining how I propose to exercise the functions of the role and stating my priorities, objectives and activities for the year ahead. Going forward, an annual report to Welsh Ministers will outline progress and achievements against the Annual Plan and both reports will be published.
I am looking forward to working with and alongside the Public and Voluntary Sectors, specialist support providers and individuals and families who have experienced violence and abuse to understand their experiences, find out what’s important to them in order to inform and shape strategic priorities, policy and services.
As I start my three year appointment I am acutely aware of the challenges that we face in implementing the purpose of the Act but I also recognise the potential and opportunities to work with, and alongside individuals, organisations and sectors here in Wales to provide a real focus; ensuring that tackling gender based violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence is a strategic priority and to make real improvements to the lives of individuals and families experiencing any form of gender-based violence.
You can now follow me @NatAdv_VAW