Conversations on accountability for violence against women should focus on the behaviour of perpetrators and not that of victims, says Wales’ Minister for Social Justice, as the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Today [Thursday 25th November] also marks White Ribbon Day, the beginning of 16 days of activism aiming to end violence against women, putting the onus on men and boys to call out abusive and sexist behaviour among their friends, colleagues and communities.
Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, said:
"Let it be clear that it is not for women to modify their behaviour, it is for abusers to change theirs. The constant and pervasive effects of male violence and gender inequality have conditioned women’s lives for far too long.
"White Ribbon Day and its 16 days of activism focus on empowering men and boys to call out inappropriate behaviours, when safe to do so, and offer support. Tackling male violence, gender inequality and misogyny require action at both ends of the spectrum; we must support survivors and we must hold perpetrators to account but we must also create genuine behaviour change.
"Only then can Wales truly uphold a culture of equality and respect - something we all must carry forward to ensure every single person can live fear free."
Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), WLGA Presiding Officer said:
"Violence against women in all its forms continues to be a devastating scourge in our communities. It is shocking that two women a week are killed by a current or former partner and 10,000 women a week experience sexual abuse in Wales and England. We must all continue to do all we can to bring such heinous behaviour to an end. Local government remains wholeheartedly committed to working to see this ambition realised."
Councillor Jane Mudd (Newport), WLGA Spokesperson for Equalities said:
"Every year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women gives us all a chance to consider our actions. There are simply no excuses whatsoever to justify any such violence or abuse. I would urge everyone across all our communities to show their support by taking the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. Together, we can all stand up loud and proud and show that there is no place in society for such barbaric behaviour."
The Welsh Government’s Violence against Women, Domestic abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Annual Progress Report for 2020 to 2021 has also been published today, whilst a public consultation on how Wales can strengthen its National Strategy for the next 5 years is due to be launched on 7th December 2021.
This will include a focus on violence against women in the street and workplace, as well as the home, in order to make Wales the safest place in Europe to be a woman.