- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Blog, Feature
Most of us are excited about this year’s Six Nations rugby tournament.
However, far too many people will be frightened of what happens once the match stops and a violent partner comes home.
Sadly, the number of domestic abuse incidents reported to the police rises rapidly around big matches. When Wales played England in Cardiff during the Six Nations tournament in 2009, South Wales Police recorded 79% more incidents than the previous weekend.
While alcohol can be a contributory factor in a relationship which is already abusive, it is not the root cause. Domestic abuse is an ongoing pattern of abusive behaviour adopted by one partner in an attempt to exert power and control over another.
I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has made a tough commitment to tackle all forms of violence against women, and have highlighted the increased levels of domestic violence that occur around major sporting events.
I have campaigned on this for many years, recruiting sportsmen to raise awareness by wearing white ribbons – a campaign that the WRU and the four Welsh police forces took up. The White Ribbon pledge is never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.
Former Welsh international, Carmarthen’s own Derwyn Jones, was our first ambassador to get this stark message across.
Domestic abuse is an issue for all of Wales, rural as well as urban. If you feel isolated or endangered in your own home and you live in a rural community, help can feel a long way away.
I work closely with Women’s Aid groups in Carmarthenshire to help people locally.
The figures are stark: in ten years there have been 12 homicides in the Dyfed Powys Police area, and seven involved domestic abuse.
Last year police recorded 48,738 incidents across Wales, including 11,759 arrests and five homicides. There were 14,528 calls to the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline, and 1,975 people entered Welsh refuges.
For 24 hour information, support and refuge for women and children experiencing domestic abuse contact:
Carmarthen Women’s Aid 24 Hour Helpline: 01267 234725
Amman Valley Women’s Aid 24 Hour Helpline: 01269 597474
Llanelli Women’s Aid 24 Hour Helpline: 01554 741212
All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.
Contact Dyfed Powys Police’s Domestic Abuse Officers on 101, anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555111 but in an emergency, always dial 999.
Joyce Watson AM, Mid and West Wales