To mark the launch of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, Torfaen Member of Parliament and Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has this week visited Cyfannol Women’s Aid in Pontypool.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that runs from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, which is International Human Rights Day, emphasising that gender-based violence against women is a violation of human rights. The campaign is a global event which brings together individuals, grassroots organisations, and governments to take action on gender-based violence, and to highlight the work that still needs to be done to end violence against women and girls.
This year, the 16 Days of Activism campaign follows months of lockdown restrictions that has seen reports of domestic abuse related offences rapidly increase, in what the UN has referred to as a ‘shadow pandemic’.
ONS statistics published in November reveal that police recorded 259,324 offences flagged as domestic abuse-related in the period March to June 2020. This represents a 7% increase from 242,413 in the same period in 2019 and an 18% increase from 218,968 in 2018. Meanwhile between April and June 2020, Refuge’s Helpline team logged a total of 40,397 calls and contacts on its database, a 65% increase compared with the first three months of 2020.
Supporting the 16 Days of Activism, Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “The launching of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence offers a poignant reminder that we need to do so much more in tackling domestic abuse, and these challenges are even starker during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“One of my top priorities in my role as Shadow Home Secretary is addressing violent abuse against women and girls, which is why I called on the UK Government at the start of the pandemic to earmark £76 million for addressing domestic abuse. It is clear from these latest statistics that the Conservatives have failed to take the issue of domestic abuse seriously and they must get to grips with providing a sustainable support system for victims of domestic abuse.”
“I was privileged to visit Cyfannol Women’s Aid to discuss the work they do in providing services and support to people who have experienced any form of violence against women, domestic abuse or sexual violence. I would like to thank all frontline support services who work tirelessly every day to support women and girls who suffer from domestic abuse, and Labour will not stop campaigning until we have eradicated violence against women and girls from society.”