White Ribbon Day
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has marked White Ribbon Day – and a year since it was nationally commended for its commitment to end violence against women.
Domestic violence is the biggest killer of women aged 19-44. More women in this age range die at the hands of their partners than die from cancer, war or road accidents.
There were 6,600 domestic abuse incidents in Cwm Taf last year – nearly half of which involved someone who had been a victim of domestic violence before and 1,000 of which occurred in a household where there were children.
The Council and its partners are committed to tackling the issue, and protecting those affected by domestic violence, and White Ribbon Day on Wednesday (Nov 25) marks the year anniversary since Cllr Geraint Hopkins became the first person in the county borough to sign the important White Ribbon pledge, to make a personal stand against violence against women.
It is also exactly a year since the Council was nationally commended by the White Ribbon campaign and secured White Ribbon Status with its action plan.
In the year since the status was secured, the Council and its partners including Women's Aid RCT have continued their work to tackle domestic violence and support those affected by it every day.
It continues to deliver holistic services from the Oasis Centre in Pontypridd, which is a one-stop shop where people can drop in, or make appointments, to speak to one of a team of sympathetic, professional experts on a range of issues from legal advice, finance, housing or coping strategies to manage a domestic violence situation because they do not want to leave.
The Oasis Centre brings together the efforts of a range of partner agencies including Police, Probation, Women’s Aid, housing associations and more.
The centre, and the way it works, is designed completely on feedback from those affected by domestic violence. They were asked what kind of services they needed to access, and how they wanted to access them, and the centre was designed accordingly.
There is also a huge amount of work taking place across the county borough, from sessions with young people affected by domestic violence to staff training and awareness to ensure they can deal with the issue confidently.
Partnership work has led to dedicated staff who work one-on-one with those affected by domestic violence to deliver the care and support they need, as well as specially-trained midwives and nurses in hospitals.
Women's Aid RCT's new partnership is also delivering training across all doctors’ surgeries in the Cwm Taf area as it is recognised many people affected by domestic violence approach their GP in the first instance, often for help with physical, emotional or mental health problems associated with the issues they are experiencing. There are also support sessions, coffee mornings and even a gardening club to provide day-to-day support.
Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services, Equality and the Welsh Language is also the Council’s Lead on tackling domestic violence.
He said: “This week marks a year since we were nationally commended and awarded White Ribbon status for our commitment to tackling violence against women.
“Our work has continued every day since and the Council and its partners deliver a broad range of services and interventions – from informal support to dedicated refuges where women and children can rebuild their lives in safety – to help people affected by domestic violence.
“As we reflect on that work for White Ribbon Day, it is once again a chance for all of us to show our support, wear our badges with pride and take the White Ribbon pledge online.
“It is also a chance for us to once again reach out to those affected by domestic violence to reassure them there is help and support on offer, at whatever level they need it. We work with a lot of people to help them manage a domestic violence situation, because we respect the fact they do not want to leave.
“Equally, we help a lot of people who want to leave a situation and make a new start. The help is there, whatever it is you need us to help you to do.”