Taskforce takes action on violence against women and girls

30th November 2021

A new all-Wales taskforce bringing together leading agencies is working to challenge attitudes and behaviours across Wales and rebuild women’s trust that policing will always protect and respect them. 

The Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Taskforce will be co-chaired by Emma Wools (Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales) and Eleri Thomas (Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Gwent), with Gwent Police Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman as the operational lead.

The taskforce will ensure that a zero-tolerance culture is developed where police officers and staff who serve Wales are encouraged to call out sexist, misogynistic, racist and homophobic attitudes wherever they see or hear them.

At a time when we are working to build public confidence in the ability of policing to effectively tackle violence again women and girls, it is imperative that the character of those people who serve to protect them is rightly under scrutiny.  Each day the vast majority of officers deliver an exceptional service to the public and we must not allow the minority to dominate public perception.

Recognising that misogyny is an issue which cuts across our communities the Welsh forces are working with partners including Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and other criminal justice agencies to ensure that the message is heard across Wales.

South Wales Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Emma Wools said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is a key priority for policing in Wales and we are committed to working in partnership to address these issues. Whilst we have made progress, we know that more needs to be done; we must be relentless in our collective efforts to reduce the intimidation, harassment and violence experienced by women and girls.

“If we are to tackle these issues effectively, it is vital that women and girls have complete faith in the ability of policing to keep them safe. Tragic events have impacted the trust and confidence of many women in policing, meaning that it is more important than ever to ensure their safety and confidence. Working through our dedicated Policing in Wales Taskforce, alongside criminal justice agencies, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales, we are determined to challenge behaviours and realise a zero-tolerance culture, ensuring that communities across Wales are able to see and experience positive change.”

Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Gwent Eleri Thomas said: "Holding policing in Wales to account is crucial to maintaining public confidence. The added value of the taskforce working across all agencies is in tackling the wider societal issues that impact on the safety of women. I'm confident that the commitment and energy that we all bring to tackle these issues will have a positive impact both now and for future generations."

Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “Women have shared their concerns and fears and it’s now time that we take decisive action to make sure that our officers and staff are held to account for their behaviour. The expectations of policing are rightly high and we will be clear in setting out our commitment that anyone not upholding these standards has no place in our forces.

“We want women and girls to come forward when they experience harassment or violence and to be confident that we will hear and believe them, and that they will be treated with courtesy and respect. We must uphold the highest standards of behaviour to earn this trust.”