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Victims and survivors of domestic abuse are still being let down, new report says

A report published today has found that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence are being let down by a 'fragmented system' in which services are described as 'inconsistent, complex and short term'.

It found that because of these failings victims and survivors still find it difficult to get the help they need.

The report highlights that improvement in collaboration between public bodies is required Credit: PA Images

While the report highlighted some progress has been made with regional working, awareness raising and the roll out of training, progress on delivering the key aspects of the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act is poor and has not had the desired impact.

In particular funding of key services remains challenging with too many different overlapping and inconsistent approaches across Wales.

I am publishing this report just before the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

It's concerning to find that, four years after the introduction of this ground-breaking legislation, victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence are still being let down by an inconsistent and complex system.

Effective collaboration and joint working are essential to ensure these services are efficient and effective, particularly given the fragmented nature of delivery across public bodies.

– Adrian Crompton, Auditor General

The most recent figures show that in the year ending 2017 there were 66,704 combined domestic abuse-related incidents and offences in Wales with domestic-abuse related violence offences representing 34% of all violence-related offences.

The report pin points where preventative work is progressing and making a real difference for victims and survivors with Swansea's Domestic Abuse Hub and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council's 'Resilient Families' programme named as two examples of how services are improving.

The report set out a number of recommendations:

  • Assessment and mapping of service provision by public bodies are revisited and involvement widened and enhanced;
  • Delivery agencies (local authorities, health bodies, the police, fire and rescue authorities and the third sector) are to review their approach to regional working to better integrate services and maximise the positive impact they can make on victims and survivors;
  • Local authorities review their commissioning arrangements to remove duplication and overlap; rationalise administration arrangements; streamline and standardise commissioning arrangements; and set appropriate performance measures, targets and benchmarks.

The report has been published following an 18 month review process and the Welsh Government is keen to stress that during this time improvement have been made.

We will carefully consider the Wales Audit Office report and its recommendations.

We feel it is important to highlight the many positives contained within the report, including the fact our Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act is helping to drive the transformation of services despite prolonged austerity and collaboration with partnerships is well established in many parts of Wales.

This review has been conducted over a period of 18 months and over this time we have made considerable progress, including publishing a delivery framework; statutory regional commissioning guidance; re-introducing the sustainable funding group; consulting on and reviewing the effectiveness of training.

– Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip