On Monday 26 June 2023, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn hosted discussions on domestic abuse and violence against women and girls at Dyfed-Powys Police with Johanna Robinson, Welsh Government’s National Advisor for Violence Against Women and Girls, Helena Herklots who is the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Asif Asfar who is the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s (APCC) Wales Policy Manager.
All were invited to spend the day at Dyfed-Powys Police Headquarters by PCC Dafydd Llywelyn to see first hand the efforts being made by Dyfed-Powys Police in relation to tackling domestic abuse and violence against women and girls, as well as discussing work that is ongoing on a national level.
During the day, they had the opportunity to see how the CCTV infrastructure is playing a key role in keeping communities safe and supporting to prevent any form of violence towards women and girls at busy night-time economy hotspots.
Discussions were held with Chief Constable Dr. Richard Lewis, who has committed to working towards the elimination of domestic abuse, stalking, and harassment, and is putting new ways of working in place at Dyfed-Powys Police to achieve this.
They also met with ‘Dal i Godi’, who have been commissioned to provide Independent Domestic Violence Advisory support services across Dyfed-Powys, as well as staff and officers from the Force’s Vulnerability Hub, who provide specialist support to officers dealing with domestic violence incidents and helps to improve the service to victims.
The Hub is currently running a two-month pilot service in Carmarthenshire, which gives victims who report domestic-related incidents that do not require an urgent response, the option to speak to an officer over a video call. Those who choose this will receive an immediate video service rather than a delayed physical attendance.
To end the day, a meeting was held with Aberystwyth University to see how training can be provided on Domestic Abuse through a unique virtual reality programme developed by staff and students at the University.
Johanna Robinson was appointed by the Welsh Government in 2022 to advise Welsh Ministers about matters in relation to the provision of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015. Previously she worked as Operational Director for Llamau, a leading charity in Wales for young people experiencing homelessness and women as victims and survivors of domestic abuse. She has 25+ years of experience of working within social justice including with women exploited through sex work, sexual violence services and refugee women.
The independent Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has a number of legal powers that underpin the role enabling her to hold public bodies to account when needed, as well as share and promote good practice. She is working to stop the abuse of older people and has published a number of reports on older people’s experiences and the changes that are needed to improve awareness and support services.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said, “As Police and Crime Commissioner I am fully committed to tackling domestic abuse and violence against women and girls, on both a national level and a local level here in Dyfed-Powys. It is our moral obligation to protect and support the most vulnerable members of our society.
“The Force has identified that a significant amount of resourcing continues to be needed to address safeguarding demand – in particular domestic abuse, and that demand in relation to sexual offences is predicted to continue to increase.
“It is also anticipated that the Dyfed-Powys area will see a growth of between twenty and twenty eight percent in the ageing population, with those aged over sixty five living with dementia in Wales increasing by sixty four percent by 2035.
“With this in mind, it is imperative that we create an environment where survivors feel safe and empowered to speak out, knowing that their voices will be heard and justice will be served.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to host Johanna Robinson, Helena Herklots and Asif Asfar here at Police Headquarters today so that we could discuss the work being carried out locally here in Dyfed-Powys, and future opportunities for us to develop our support services on a national level.
“By working collaboratively with partners and key stakeholders, together, we can break the cycle of violence, promote equality and build a society where every woman and girl can live free from fear and harm”.
Johanna Robinson, Welsh Government’s National Advisor on Violence Against Women and Girls said “It has been a truly wonderful day learning of a whole range of initiatives to improve responses to victims and survivors. I was particularly interested in the innovation that this being used to improve responses to victims of domestic abuse through the virtual rapid response pilot. It is very early on but looks like there is a great opportunity to improve victim and survivor engagement.
“At the same time the Virtual Reality training developed with Aberystwyth University was a creative and impactful way to demonstrate the trauma involved in older people reporting domestic abuse. We need officers who are empathic and responsive and this gives them an insight in a new though provoking way.”
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Helena Herklots, said “I greatly valued the opportunity to explore issues affecting older people who are at risk of or experiencing abuse, and to see first-hand the work underway to tackle domestic abuse as well as financial crimes against older people. There was a lot to learn and to share and I look forward to working together to stop the abuse of older people.”