Welsh Bill To Get New Name Recognising Female Domestic Abuse
Wales are proposing to change the title of the Gender- Based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill to reflect the people domestic violence affects most, women. But, as Family Law Solicitor Jenine Abdo comments, we still need to show support for men who suffer from domestic abuse.
All In The Name
The bill had already caused controversy by not specifically referring to women and going with a gender neutral approach to its title. According to Women's Aid, 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse
in their lifetime, something that is not currently reflected in the title of the bill.
Rather than a new innovative approach to tackling the recurring dilemma of domestic abuse, the bill was supposed to provide support to those already on the front line in local authorities dealing with domestic abuse, gender-based violence and sexual abuse. It would seem that in this respect, the bill has fallen short on face value.
But what about male victims of violence?
A key point that Jenine raised was that although women are the majority of those who suffer from domestic abuse, "if the change is made, provisions should also be made to make sure that it does not alienate men who are also suffers of domestic violence and abuse. Male based violence is unfortunately on the rise and there should be provisions too in place for those who are sufferers especially as it is still a taboo subject. "
"Those who are faced with any form or element of abuse must know that they have support and a legal structure behind them too."
More Support For Young People
Along with the proposed title change, Welsh Assembly Members (AM) are looking to add measures that target young people in schools and children. In particular, they want to make it a duty upon schools to educate young people about healthy relationships and violence against women and girls such as Forced Marriage and FGM whilst giving them access to support and advice. This ties in well with work being done up and down the UK to help young people avoid abusive relationships and to seek help if they find themselves in one before it's too late.
Commenting on the story, Jenine said, "I agree that unfortunately, women and girls are predominately and statistically the gender who suffer from DV and DA the most and this should be reflected in the name of the bill; one which should encompass issues such as forced marriages
and female genital mutilation (FGM)
Jenine runs a monthly clinic with Cardiff Women's Aid
and SAFE AS
providing essential support to those who need it.