More needs to be done in Powys to educate boys and young men to help eradicate the issue of violence and domestic violence against women, say councillors.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s, Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee on Monday, November 29, councillors discussed an update report from the Community Safety Partnership.
There, Dyfed-Powys Police inspector Brian Jones told councillors that 810 domestic violence crimes had been reported this year and this was 10 per cent up on figures from 2019.
But Insp Jones didn’t see the increase as a negative point, but that there was more awareness of the issue and a growing confidence that the police would properly investigate allegations.
Insp Jones said: “There’s a lot of domestic violence that goes on, that doesn’t come to the police’s attention.
“We want to improve people’s confidence to come forward and that we will support them as much as possible.
“There is more willingness to report a history of abuse now rather than just one incident.”
Insp Jones added that teams had been going into colleges and asking female students: “How safe do you feel in your area or walking the street?”
He added that “Ask for Angela,” the code word used by those who feel vulnerable or threatened and can be used to discreetly seek help by approaching pub or nightclub staff, has now started in Newtown.
Cllr Jackie Charlton said: “I was pleased to hear about Ask Angela.
“For women to feel safe on the streets these days is a big issue.
“We’re forever asking women to take responsibility for their safety, what we should be doing is asking men to take responsibility too.
“We should be focussing on educating boys and young men.”
She believed that a campaign to highlight this issue is needed and that the council and police should work together on it.
Cllr Sarah Williams who works at Neath Port Talbot Council’s Community Safety Partnership, explained what the neighbouring authority was doing on this issue.
Cllr Williams said: “We’re targeting rugby and football teams and over the last couple of weeks we’ve been taking the banners and white ribbon and speaking to them about the effects of domestic violence.”
She added that this campaign would be ramped up ahead of the Six Nations rugby championship which starts in February 2022.
Cllr Kath Roberts-Jones reminded the meeting that men also suffer from domestic violence and asked if there was any statistics on this.
Committee chairman Mathew Dorrance summed up the item, he said: “This is really important.”
Cllr Dorrance believed that the committee needed to better understand the issues behind domestic violence and the responses to it.
A further briefing for councillors will be arranged for a future date.