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Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence has risen since the pandemic

Published: 07/12/2023

The Covid pandemic had a significant impact on the delivery of specialist services in North Wales, including support for violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV). This led to significant changes in the ways in which services were delivered.

Since the lifting of restrictions, all services across the region have seen a significant rise in demand, with Flintshire services (including Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA’s), floating support, outreach provision, refuge and support for children and young people), seeing an increase in referrals of between 40% and 50%, with no signs of this trend slowing down.

Flintshire County Council works closely with the specialist sector, to ensure victims and survivors of VAWDASV can obtain short term, emergency support (such as accommodation), as well as longer term support to recover from trauma.

The Violence Against Women Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 sets out the arrangements for the prevention of gender based violence, domestic abuse, and sexual violence, as well as protection for victims and support for those affected.

In 2016 Flintshire County Council (FCC) and other statutory partners in North Wales worked together to establish a VAWDASV Board to meet the 2015 Act’s requirements. This is funded by Welsh Government and an important part of the funding is to provide VAWDASV training to staff across these organisations ranging from online awareness programmes and specialist training for frontline officers, to high level, strategic understanding for senior leaders.

Flintshire County Council have achieved a 73% workforce completion rate for VAWDASV e-learning for the National Training Framework in 2022/23, one of the highest in North Wales. The roll-out of specialist and strategic training has also commenced with over 330 FCC officers already taken this training.

Chief Officer, Planning, Environment & Economy, Andrew Farrow said: "At Flintshire County Council, we know the importance of these specialist services to our communities and we are committed to ensuring we provide the correct support for those who need us and will continue to learn and develop the skills we need to deliver these services."

Cabinet Member for Planning, Public Health, and Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell said: "It is troubling to see the rise in the requirement for VAWDASV support within our communities, but I am confident that FCC, along with the other statutory organisations, are dedicated to supporting those vulnerable people in every way they can."