Welsh Women’s Aid is the national charity in Wales working to end domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women. We support a network of specialist organisations that provide lifesaving and preventative services to survivors of violence and abuse, and we provide a range of direct services including advice and support, consultancy and training. Our success is founded on making sure the experiences and needs of survivors are central to all we do.
In Wales, over 47,000 incidents on domestic abuse were reported to the police in 2014/15 and an estimated 11% women in Wales experience domestic abuse every year – and this doesn’t begin to cover the thousands upon thousands of women who felt too scared to report or to pick up the phone to ask for help. Whilst the Welsh Government has introduced a range of measures designed to prevent abuse and protect and support victims, we know that far too many women are still not always able to get the help they need, when they need it. We also know that specialist services up and down the country face a difficult future amid insecure or unsustainable funding decisions.
We want to make sure that no woman or child is turned away from accessing critical support services delivered by refuges, rape support centres, and specialist support for Black and minority women. These services in Wales provide safety and support with housing, health, and legal matters, alongside help to recover from abuse and to achieve independence. Without them, women who experience abuse – be it physical, sexual, psychological or financial – would have nowhere to turn for help when they need it the most.
That is why we are calling on the Welsh and UK Governments to support our demand to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which would increase the protection of women fleeing violence, and the services that support them.