The Welsh Government have created A Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill and the Welsh Assembly are currently consulting on it – the details and process can be found here. The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee i the Welsh Assembly have been tasked with reviewing the Bill and set out a public consultation.
We submitted a ManKind Initiative Consultation Response response and are appearing before the committee on October 2014.
The charity is supportive of the Welsh Government’s Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill in principle and recognises that it is a step forward in ensuring the victims of these crimes receive the protection and support they need.
However, the charity believes there are a number of issues that will need to be addressed to ensure that in Wales, all victims of these crimes receive the protection and support they need. A law that supports victims of domestic abuse is supported, but often from the charity’s experience, the application of law in terms of the provision of services for male victims, is lacking.
These issues, include:
(i) recognising and accepting that domestic abuse is not a gender-based crime. It is therefore vital that the part of the bill’s title entitled “Gender-based Violence” is recognised and interpreted as being separate to “domestic abuse”. An answer could be to rename the Bill on an alphabetical basis: Domestic Abuse, Gender-based Violence and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill.
(ii) if forced marriage and honour-based violence are viewed as being gender-based crimes, then how will male victims of these crimes be equally recognised and supported as female victims of these crimes?
(iii) ensuring national and local strategies fully recognise male victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence and that the strategies explicitly address the needs of male victims. This also includes service commissioning, staff training and awareness raising.