What is VAWDASV?

VAWDASV stands for Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. Click on the drop-down options below for more information on the meaning of each term.

Violence Against Women

What is Violence Against Women?

The United Nations defines “Violence against Women” as a "form of discrimination against women and a violation of human rights and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

According to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 domestic abuse means abuse where the victim of it is or has been associated with the abuser. This can be committed by an intimate partner, ex-partner, spouse, civil partner or family relative (a full definition of intimate and familial relations can be accessed within the Act).

The abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse.

This is in line with the Home Office’s definition of domestic abuse as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

The Serious Crime Act 2015 legally defines the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour within intimate or familial relations as domestic abuse. Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

Rape and Sexual Violence

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. According to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 sexual violence means sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, or threats of violence of a sexual nature. The act further defines sexual exploitation as something that is done to or in respect of a person which warrants an offence under Part 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.This includes the following definitions:

  • Rape is when a person intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis when that other person does not consent to the penetration, and/or he does not reasonably believe that the other person consents.
  • Assault by penetration is the intentionally sexual penetration of the vagina or anus of another person with a part of the person’s body or anything else, when that other person does not consent to the penetration, and/or he does not reasonably believe that the other person consents.
  • Sexual assault is a person intentionally touching another person sexually in a manner to which the other person does not consent to the touching, and/or the person does not reasonably believe that the other person consents.
  • Child sex offences including rape or any sexual activity with a child, familial child sex offences and meeting a child following sexual grooming.
Sexual Harassment

What is sexual harassment?

According to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 harassment means a course of conduct (including speech) by a person which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other. For incidents that took place after 1st October 2005 there is two types of sexual harassment – unwanted contact on the grounds of your sex and unwanted physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Gender-based violence

What is gender-based violence?

According to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 gender-based violence means:

  • Violence, threats of violence or harassment arising directly or indirectly from values, beliefs or customs relating to gender or sexual orientation.

This includes ‘Honour based violence’ which can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members.  Examples may include murder, un-explained death (suicide), fear of or actual forced marriage, controlling sexual activity, domestic abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse), child abuse, rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, threats to kill, assault, harassment, forced abortion.  This list is not exhaustive.

  • Female genital mutilation which is an act that is an offence under sections 1, 2 or 3 of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

FGM also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting, is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons".

  • Forcing a person (whether by physical force or coercion by threats or other psychological means) to enter into a religious or civil ceremony of marriage (whether or not legally binding).This is commonly known as Forced Marriage. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.

How is VAWDASV managed in Mid and West Wales?

Within Mid and West Wales there are two groups dedicated to VAWDASV; a Strategic Group and a Delivery Group. The Strategic Group agrees on high-level arrangements which are then implemented at Delivery Group level. Both groups consist of membership from all four Local Authorities, both Health Boards and Dyfed Powys Police, along with a number of other key agencies including specialised VAWDASV charities and organisations.

Latest resources, guidance and other updates

VAWDASV Commissioning Report
Hywel Dda 7 Minute Briefing - VAWDASV and the role of the Safeguarding Nurse
Dyfed Powys Police VAWDASV Communication Plan - COVID-19
Healthy Relationships poster - Welsh Women's Aid

Links to information and updates from other organisations on VAWDASV