The committee received a presentation and verbal update on the revised draft of “Healthy Relationships for Stronger Communities Strategy”. It was highlighted that the first strategy was launched in 2017, since then a lot of progress had been made which was highlighted throughout the revised strategy. The strategy for 2020-2023 was currently under review and out for consultation, the new version would be published during April 2020.
It was noted that the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Leadership Group had overseen the implementation of the strategy with various sub groups commissioned to undertake certain objectives and actions.
It was noted that partnership arrangements had been strengthened and work was on-going with local employers to help implement Domestic Abuse Policies in the workplace. The Safe Leave Policy had been introduced to the council workforce and an awareness raising events for 150 frontline professionals had been held.
A new service model had been agreed for Refuge and Community Support and the Communications and Engagement sub group were working with the Swansea Bay University Health Board on the new IRIS pilot, which included visiting local surgeries and speaking to health workers, this was an early intervention piece of work being rolled out.
Some of the key areas of progress made against each of the seven objectives in the original strategy included:-
1. Communications and Engagement
To raise awareness of the following initiatives:-
Clare’s Law – a Police Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme that enabled people to find out from police if their partner had a history of domestic violence, this information could protect someone from being a victim of an attack.
Bright Sky - a free download mobile app providing support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
Ask Angela - used in licensed premises and other venues to keep people safe from sexual assault by using a codename to ask for help if they were in danger or in an uncomfortable situation. Posters would be placed on the stall doors inside toilets of establishments where the campaign was being implemented. This was rolled out in Neath Port Talbot as part of white ribbon week and 250 licensing premises had been asked to register.
2. Children and Young People
Well-being workshops had taken place in Bae Baglan Comprehensive School and Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School. On completion of the workshops teachers at the school would take forward the training. The workshop would be run in Cwm Brombil Comprehensive School this year.
The Crucial Crew initiative had been carried for all year 6 pupils moving onto secondary school, the workshop included a variety of safety messages including an age appropriate presentation on healthy relationships.
Officers explained that this work was still in progress as work was being undertaken to establish the correct perpetrator programme. It was essential to ensure the programme worked before taking it forward.
It was noted that a u-tube video which encouraged males to come forward and speak out would be circulated to all members, the u-tube clip was for all victims of domestic abuse and promoted local services.
4. Early Intervention and Prevention
It was noted that the Community Safety Team was working closely with domestic abuse specialist providers, it was explained that THRIVE Women’s Aid was currently having a lot more referrals through for standard and medium risk.
Officers highlighted that further research was on-going to identify need.
VAWDASV training (Group 1) was mandatory for all staff. The next training sessions (Group 2) would commence during September 2020. This training would be for selected staff, mainly those who were front line and more likely to come into direct contact with people who were victims.
The Safe Leave Policy was launched during December 2019 and offered staff up to 5 days paid leave if they themselves were affected by Domestic Abuse.
6. Accessible Services
Officers explained that they were looking to develop links with specialist providers who would meet the needs of people affected by other forms of violence. Links with local housing providers and Housing Options needed to be established in order to ensure victims in need of alternative housing were supported, this was costing a lot every year, and therefore needed to be looked at more closely. There was also a need to look further into Adults at Risk, specifically in respect of domestic violence and abuse.
7. Courts and Criminal Justice
It was highlighted that 30-35% were repeat victims coming through the system. It was explained that there was a specialist domestic violence court budget for training Magistrates, but this had been reduced, therefore the Neath Port Talbot training team had opened up training sessions to Magistrates.
It was noted that the consultation for Healthy Relationships Public for Stronger Communities Strategy would start on Monday 2 March and run for four weeks. Officers explained that a lot of people had already contributed to the consultation, but would encourage more feedback.
A discussion took place around funding and, it was noted that funding was a barrier to making progress quickly and grants were limited.
It was Sian Morris’ last meeting, the chair and committee thanked Sian for all her hard work in the Community Safety Team over the years and wished her all the best in her retirement.
Following scrutiny, it was agreed that the report be noted.