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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 16 June, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance & Community Safety

 

White Ribbon Campaign - Violence Against Women and Girls

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek Cabinet approval for the Council to become a corporate supporter of the White Ribbon Campaign and to gain the White Ribbon Campaign Town award.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet pledge their support for work to be progressed in order to gain the White Ribbon Award.

2.         That updates on progress are submitted to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee via the regular Safer Vale progress reports.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable work to progress in order to improve domestic abuse awareness and expand partnership working that will ultimately benefit the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan.

2.         To ensure that the Housing and Public Protection Committee is able to fulfil its statutory role of scrutinising partnership action to reduce crime and disorder and the fear of crime.

Background

2.         Every year in the UK more than one million women suffer domestic abuse and more than 360,000 are sexually assaulted.  Within the Vale of Glamorgan there are 1874 reports made each year from victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

3.         The Community Safety Partnership (Safer Vale) is responsible for the co-ordination of services and identifying gaps and improvements. Over the past few years there have been significant improvements made to provide improved awareness of the impact of domestic and sexual abuse and also the services that are available to victims and their families.

4.         Working with partners such as Atal y Fro, the Probation Trust and the Police, the Council has been able to assist and lead in many projects such as the One Stop Shop (Cadoxton House) the Perpetrator Programme and the Sanctuary Referral Scheme, all of which have resulted in good outcomes for victims and families.

5.         In 2014 Carl Sargent AM wrote to the Vale of Glamorgan Council highlighting the work of the White Ribbon Town Award and seeking assistance in rolling the scheme out across Wales.  With abuse and violence towards girls being a long standing issue for the whole of the UK, it is clear that public authorities have a duty to address it within their own organisation and the broader local community.

6.         The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) award is for Councils demonstrating their commitment to the aims of the campaign. These are:

·               Mobilising men so that the anti-violence against women and girls message increases in effectiveness and reach (involving men and boys in prevention activities)

·               Addressing and altering social norms that lead to violent behaviour against women

·               Increasing awareness on the issue and providing services aimed at reducing the incidence of domestic violence

·               Mobilising the entire local community under the goal of ending violence against women and girls

7.         As a White Ribbon Town (or County) the Council will be awarded a certificate or plaque that offers public recognition of its commitment to ending violence against women and girls.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         Following the Council expressing an interest in becoming a White Ribbon Town, an action plan will need to be completed in order that the Council can demonstrate its commitment to achieving the standard required.  Once the action plan is finalised and agreed, progress will be monitored by the WRC programme.

9.         Key points that have to be covered within the action plan are as follows:

·               Ways in which to involve and educate men and boys in an anti violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy.

·               A calendar of events, including ways of commemorating White Ribbon Day

·               A commitment to awareness raising and providing training on VAWG within the authority

·               Methods of monitoring attitudes and effectiveness of the strategy

·               Co-operate where possible with other anti VAWG organisations

·               Distribute information on VAWG as widely as possible, including through linguistic or cultural barriers.

·               Explore different values of masculinity through discussions and workshops.

10.      The key points that are required within the action plan are, in the main, already being worked towards through multi agency arrangements, and gaining the award would not require significant additional work.  For example, the Council already has in place a Domestic Abuse, Violence Against Women and Sexual Violence Workplace Policy that addresses employees who are victims of domestic abuse and ensures they are dealt with in a sympathetic, non-judgemental, confidential and effective manner.

11.      The award is reviewed on a two-yearly basis to ensure that work is still ongoing.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      The cost of the application is £400 and an optional plaque can be purchased for £150.  The cost this year can be met via the Domestic and Sexual Abuse service Grant from Welsh Government.  However a budget will need to be provided for subsequent years.

13.      The Domestic and Sexual Abuse Co-ordinator (funded via the Domestic and Sexual Abuse Service grant from Welsh Government) will be responsible for ensuring the operational delivery of the programme and will be overseen by the Safer Vale Manager on behalf of the Council.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.      There are no direct Sustainability and Climate Change Implications as a result of this award.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.      Under the Human Rights Act 1998 all public bodies have an obligation to protect the human rights of individuals and to ensure that their human rights are not being violated. 

16.      Welsh Government is planning to introduce legislation this year entitled 'Ending Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence'.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      The WRC will assist in highlighting the issues surrounding Domestic Abuse by challenging perceptions and raising awareness.  In the long run it will assist the Safer Vale Partnership in reducing crime and disorder and the fear of crime.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      The Equality Act 2010 includes a 'public sector duty' and those subject to the general equality must have due regard to the need to: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality opportunity for protected groups and foster good relations.  The scale and impact of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence is so significant that our actions should reduce its incidence.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      Domestic abuse and sexual violence are identified as priorities in the Safer Vale Strategic Assessment, the Community Strategy and the Strategic Equality Plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      The report is a matter for executive decision by the Cabinet

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      No local Members have been consulted since the impact would be on the Vale as a whole.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

Welsh Government letter received on 8th April 2014 regarding the White Ribbon Campaign.

 

Contact Officer

Deborah Gibbs - Principal Community Safety Officer Tel: 01446 450210

 

Officers Consulted

Andrea Davies, Corporate Health and Safety Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Huw Isaac - Head of Performance & Development Tel: 01446 709760

 

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