A ground-breaking national commission focusing on domestic and sexual abuse is taking evidence in Cardiff today.
The Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage, chaired by Baroness Hilary Armstrong, is looking into what help is available for some of the most disadvantaged women and girls in England and Wales.
It comes after recent research by AVA (Against Violence & Abuse) and Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, showed that support for women in Wales was particularly patchy.
The commission, whose members include Dame Gill Morgan, former Permanent Secretary to the Welsh Assembly Government, will be taking evidence from a number of organisations working with women in Wales and the south west of England.
- Paula Hardy, Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office for South Wales
- Welsh Women’s Aid
- The Wallich charity in Cardiff.
- Women’s Centre Cornwall
- Nelson’s Trust (Gloucestershire)
- Golden Key (Bristol)
The commission will investigate what support is available to women who have experienced violence and abuse and go on to face other challenges such as poor mental health and addiction to drugs and alcohol, and the changes to policy and practice needed to support them.
Baroness Armstrong says: “Abuse underpins so many other challenges in the lives of women and girls and it is vital that this is recognised and taken into account.
“The commission will look in detail at the issues this group of women face in accessing support and will propose recommendations aimed at ensuring they are given the help they need to rebuild their lives.”
At the end of the year the commission will publish a report with a series of recommendations for the government and local authorities.
The commission, brought together by AVA and Agenda, has been funded by a grant from the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales.
Katharine Sacks-Jones, Director of Agenda, says: “Many women and girls who have experienced violence and abuse are deeply traumatised. They can go on to face multiple problems like very low self-esteem, poor mental and physical health and turning to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms.
“We hope this commission will lead to lasting positive change across the board and enable the many thousands of women affected by these issues to get the support and protection they need.”
Donna Covey, Director of AVA says: “Support services have limited capacity, are under-funded and can be poorly equipped to give women the support they need and deserve.
“Thanks to our grant from the Lloyds Bank Foundation, this national commission will draw much-needed attention to these issues and mean future national policy and practice on abuse reflects the reality and complex nature of women’s lives.”
Notes to editors
About the Commission:
Launched in October 2017, the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage is examining the situation of women and girls who have experienced violence and go on to face a range of other issues including addiction and poor mental health. It will take evidence from women with experience of these issues, and will consider what services are available to women and the changes to policy and practice needed to support them. For more information visit: https://weareagenda.org/commission/
Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, works to ensure that women and girls facing abuse, poverty, poor mental health, addiction and homelessness get the support and protection they need. We campaign for systems and services to be transformed; to raise awareness across sectors; and to promote public and political understanding of the lives of women and girls facing multiple disadvantage. www.weareagenda.org
AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) is a leading UK charity committed to ending gender based violence and abuse. We strive to improve services for survivors through our learning, resources, consultancy and end Violence Against Women and Girls through our policy, research and prevention work. Our particular expertise is in multiple disadvantage and children and young people. www.avaproject.org.uk
About Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales:
- Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales is one of the UK’s leading community grant-makers. An independent registered charity funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group as part of the Group’s commitment to Helping Britain Prosper. The Foundation invests in charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives, and promotes practical approaches to lasting change.
- The Foundation awarded a £96,320 grant to AVA and Agenda as part of Transform, a one-off grants programme designed to support small and medium-sized charities develop news ways to strengthen and improve responses to domestic and sexual abuse.
- For more information visit www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk