Minister for Communities and Local Government, Carl Sargeant, launched a campaign today to tackle the increased levels of domestic abuse that occur around the time of major sporting events such as the Six Nations rugby tournament.
The publicity campaign, which includes advertising on local radio stations and posters on trains and buses, promotes an anti-violence message and highlights the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline. A similar campaign during last years Six Nations tournament resulted in over 4300 calls to the helpline, an increase of almost 10% on the previous year.
Carl Sargeant said:
“Violence against women, unfortunately, continues to be a very real and serious problem in Wales. This heinous crime has no place in a modern society and can never be justified. The Welsh Government is determined to tackle all forms of domestic Abuse and Violence and this campaign is further evidence of this.
“As part of our ‘Right to be Safe’ strategy we are determined to raise public awareness of some of the most damaging and often hidden forms of violence in our communities and under the ‘Live Fear Free’ banner, we are working with stakeholders to challenge behaviour and ensure that victims know that there is no need to suffer in silence.”
Assistant Chief Constable Matt Jukes of South Wales Police said:
“South Wales Police will not tolerate Domestic Abuse and officers will deal with this crime in a swift and robust manner making every effort to bring charges against those responsible and to support victims.
“Unfortunately alcohol commonly features in incidents of Domestic Abuse. These sporting events coupled with alcohol sadly trigger violence by some offenders. Our message is clear, Domestic Abuse is a serious crime and isn’t acceptable in any circumstances.
“We would urge all victims and witnesses to report any threatening, abusive or violent behaviour to the police using 999 in emergencies, or alternatively anonymously to Crimestoppers, so that our specially trained police officers can support them by making them safe while bringing those responsible to justice.”
Paula Hardy, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said:
“We are proud to have worked with the Welsh Government on messaging for this important campaign, as we regularly do around the Six Nations tournament. Evidence shows that the number of incidents reported to the police increases dramatically around the time of big matches – when Wales played England during the Six Nations tournament in 2012, South Wales Police recorded a 76% increase in domestic abuse incidents compared to the previous weekend.
“Much of this violence is blamed on increased alcohol consumption. But while alcohol can be a contributory factor in a relationship which is already abusive, it is not the root cause. Domestic abuse is an ongoing pattern of abusive behaviour adopted by one partner in an attempt to exert power and control over another. It affects one in four women at some point in their lives, and kills two women every week in England and Wales.”
Anyone affected by domestic abuse in Wales can call the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 for confidential, bilingual, 24-hour information and advice. In an emergency, always dial 999.