Welsh Government campaign on rape and domestic abuse

A campaign to tackle sexual violence and domestic abuse in relationships has been launched in Wales.

The Live Fear Free campaign aims to challenge attitudes towards rape and abuse in the home, supported by a sexual violence video.

Communities Minister Carl Sargeant said he hoped it would spread the message that domestic violence was not acceptable.

Paula Hardy of Welsh Women's Aid said culprits must be held to account.

The campaign aims to challenge the normalisation and acceptance of such abuse, and another online video will examine the effect domestic violence has on children.

Closed doors

The launch event saw the story of violence in the home told through a display in the Queen's Arcade shopping centre.

A number of washing lines have been erected, hung with T-shirts bearing images and comments created by survivors of domestic abuse in Wales, and telling the story of how each act of violence made the victims feel.

Almost 100 women are killed by partners or ex-partners each year, figures show, while 21 men died from domestic abuse in England and Wales last year.

One in four women experiences domestic abuse while one in three experiences sexual violence in their lives, according to Welsh Women's Aid, which is backing the campaign.

Mr Sargeant said: "I hope that this campaign will spread the message that domestic abuse is not acceptable and will not be tolerated and will give victims the confidence to come forward and seek help and support.

"Many lives are affected by domestic abuse but because it happens behind closed doors, it is often ignored.

"The high-profile campaigning work we have done so far as part of our six-year strategy to tackle violence against women and domestic abuse means that we have come a long way in recent years.

"However, I recognise that more needs to be done and by working with our partners we will make provide help and support to enable people to live fear free."

Paula Hardy, chief executive of Welsh Women's Aid, said: "It is not uncommon for women in abusive relationships to experience sexual violence as part of domestic abuse.

Held accountable

"In over 80% of rape cases, the victim knows her rapist - the perpetrator is far more likely to be a partner or ex-partner than the common and misleading stereotype of a stranger in a dark alley.

"We understand that attitudinal change doesn't happen overnight. We must continue to work together to challenge existing attitudes that women are somehow to blame, and perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions."

Barbara Natasegara of Safer Wales and the Dyn Project said: "The Live Fear Free campaign will help in highlighting this serious issue and in raising awareness of the extent to which domestic abuse affects all people - men, as well as women and children in Wales."

The launch follows Mr Sargeant's visit to the North Wales Women's Centre in Rhyl, Denbighshire, last week to see what services they offer and how they are working with local police to tackle the crime.

Victims of domestic abuse can contact the 24-hour, bilingual, freephone All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.

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