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Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence

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What is Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV)?

VAWDASV stands for Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence.

It incorporates Violence Against Women (and Girls), Domestic Abuse, Rape and Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, Female Genital Mutilation, Honour based violence, Forced Marriage, Stalking, Trafficking and other forms of violence.

It is estimated that around 3 million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation, trafficking and other forms of violence every year. This is the equivalent to the population of Wales.”

Report of the Secretary General, 2006

It is important to note that all genders can be victims and/or perpetrators of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence.

There is a Wales Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy 2022 to 2026, which was launched in May 2022.

View the Strategy here

Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Summary of Orders.

Safer Communities Podcast

Series 2 of the Safer Communities Podcast explored the safety of women and girls in Wales.

Listen here

The following are the main legislation currently impacting on VAWDASV in Wales and the UK: 

  • Domestic Abuse Act 2021
  • Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015
  • Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014
  • Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
  • Serious Crime Act 2015
  • Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Part 1)
  • Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003
  • Housing (Wales) Act 2014
  • Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
  • Policing and Crime Act 2017
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • Protection and Freedoms Act 2012
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
  • Family Law Act 1996
  • Domestic violence disclosure scheme: guidance (2012) ‘Clare’s Law’
  • Children and Young People Act 1933
  • The Children Act 2004 (England and Wales)
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • The European Convention on Human Rights
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UK has ratified)
  • The section 47 of the Children Act 1989
  • The Adoption and Children Act 2002 
  • The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

It is important to note that there is one Bill going through the UK Parliament which is likely to add to this, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The VAWDASV (Wales) Act 2015 puts a duty on the Public Sector to identify and to provide specialist support. Known as Ask and Act.

Read more about Ask & Act

The Act creates a general duty to have regard to the need to remove or minimise any factors which increase the risk of violence against women and girls or exacerbate the impact of such violence on victims.

The Act puts a duty on Local Authorities and Local Health Boards to prepare, publish and implement joint local strategies for tackling VAWDASV (regional are permitted) and then to take reasonable steps to achieve the objectives set out in the local strategy. There is also a duty to consult ahead of publishing the strategy, and for the strategy to demonstrate how partnership working and collaboration is improving services for victims and survivors. A needs assessment is required to identify local needs and provision, including an equality impact assessment of services

Find guidance here

Housing (Wales) Act 2014 places a duty around the provision of appropriate accommodation when a person is unable to return to current accommodation without being the subject of abuse by another member of that household.

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 places a duty in regards to reporting for the safeguarding of children and adults at risk. The theme of safeguarding runs throughout the Act but the specific information is Part 7. Social Care Wales have statutory guidance on their website

Visit the Social Care Wales website

The Act places a responsibility on everyone to report. For organisations that are commissioned by the Public Sector, the duty carries with the service delivery.

The Wales Safeguarding Procedures are available online here, with the App being downloadable from AppleAndroid.

Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 outlines the collective role of the Public Service Boards (PSB). Statutory duties that can be discharged via a Wellbeing Plan, which can cover VAWDASV. A VAWDASV Strategy can meet the Statutory Duty and feed into the development of the local Wellbeing Plan.

There is a National Training Framework on VAWDASV which is made up of six professionals all within Public Service.

  • Group 1 – General awareness (E-learning)
  • Group 2 – Ask and Act
  • Group 3 – Ask and Act Champions
  • Group 4 – Specialist sector
  • Group 5 – Managers of specialist sector
  • Group 6 – Public service leaders

To learn more about national training on VAWDASV click here

Social Care Wales carries the training materials for children and adults at risk for Safeguarding

Safeguarding Procedures

All Public Sector should be providing training to their staff as part of the Duty, if unsure speak to the training department.

Useful Links

Welsh Women’s Aid

Contact Welsh Women’s Aid

Live Fear Free Helpline

0808 80 10800

Live chat is available 24 hours.

They can support you in Welsh, English and any other languages using LanguageLine.

Text phone users can contact us via Type Talk on 18001 0808 80 10 800.

You can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline by text 24/7 on 078600 77 333.


Safer Wales About Us

WalkSafe App


Welsh Government

Welsh Government has launched a campaign, Sound, to encourage men aged 18-34 in Wales to learn about gender-based violence. The ultimate aim of the project is to create a sound Welsh society in which we can all thrive.