UK Government awards £1.4million to South Wales Police & Crime Commissioner to tackle violence against women and girls

Welsh Secretary: Funding will provide victims with immediate support to ensure they can feel safe and secure.

A South Wales project will receive a share of a £17million UK Government fund to help prevent and address violence against women and girls.

The UK Government has today announced that it will award £1.4million to the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner for their Violence Against Women and Girls in South Wales Programme.

The grant is awarded through the UK Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Service Transformation Fund. It is designed to promote projects which are leading the way in stopping violence before it happens, preventing abusive behaviour from becoming entrenched, and establishing the best ways to help victims and their families.

In South Wales, £1.4 million will go to a wide-ranging programme of support using the ‘Change that Lasts’ framework. This includes rolling out the ‘Ask Me’ scheme through which up to 30 ‘community ambassadors’ will be trained to identify the signs of abuse and to provide safe spaces within communities where women can report it.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:

"Ending violence against women and girls is a priority for the UK Government.

Everyone has a right to live in safety and without fear and this UK Government funding for the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner will provide victims with immediate support to ensure they can feel safe and secure.

"I am proud of what the UK Government has achieved so far to tackle violence against women. But it is a complex problem that we are unable to solve alone. That is why we are sending a clear message to local agencies – including police and local authorities – that tacking violence against women and girls should be a priority for them too.

"By working together and confronting these vile crimes we will find ways to beat them. I am determined to see a future where no woman or girl need live in fear. The Violence against Women and Girls Transformation Fund brings us one step closer to reaching that destination."

As part of the early intervention work and to break the cycle of violence, the UK Government is working with local authorities on changing the attitudes and behaviours of perpetrators, to make sure rehabilitation, mental health interventions and other appropriate perpetrator programmes are in place.

The funding for successful bids was announced today in a speech by the Home Secretary to the Women’s Aid conference to members in Coventry.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

"Tackling violence against women and girls is ‘everyone’s business’. It needs a joined-up, collaborative response locally, providing support to victims through health, education and social care, as well as the police.

"These projects will help ensure that victims and survivors get the right support at the right time, as well as intervening early to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place.

"Violence Against Women and Girls devastates the lives of victims and families and this Government will continue to do all it can to protect people from these horrendous crimes."

Today’s announcement represents a further demonstration of the UK Government’s commitment to tackling violence against women and girls and follows confirmation in the recent Queen’s Speech of the forthcoming Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.

It will include a consolidated new domestic abuse civil prevention and protection order, and enshrine a definition of domestic abuse in law. It will establish a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors.

The legislation will allow the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which will enable UK courts to prosecute British citizens for domestic abuse regardless of where in the world the offence was committed.

The Bill will also ensure that if abusive behaviour involves a child, then the court can hand down a sentence which reflects the devastating and life-long impact that abuse can have.

In the last Parliament, the UK Government published its strategy to end violence against women and girls, making clear that everyone needs to play their part – friends, family, employers, health providers and the police. It also introduced a specific offence of controlling or coercive behaviour.