EDUCATING young people about healthy relationships is crucial to battling domestic violence against women, a Newport AM has said.
Newport East’s John Griffiths was speaking in the Senedd on Wednesday in his capacity as chairman of the Assembly’s equality, local government and communities committee following a report by the group into the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.
The report, which was developed in partnership with a number of organisations including police and charities, applauded the provisions of the act, but said more needed to be done to ensure it was effective.
Mr Griffiths said: “There must be requirements for schools to teach children about healthy relationships or the entrenched and harmful social attitudes about abuse and sexual violence will not be prevented.
“There is an opportunity with the development of the new curriculum to get this right.
“This is overdue and would be an important stride forward.”
He added: “We need to make sure that in the earliest years and throughout school and beyond, our young people are receiving the right messages and developing the right attitudes.”
Saying “passing legislation isn’t enough”, Mr Griffiths said he was concerned elements of the act were still not in place almost two years after it was introduced.
“The committee is concerned that there appears to be a lack of urgency within Welsh Government to take the necessary steps on implementation as outlined in the act itself,” he said.
“Given the importance of this legislation, commitment must now be matched by timely and effective action.”
He added: “With every day that passes we risk losing momentum and opportunities to change lives.
“Services are being cut, organisations are unsure about their future.
“We are losing time when we could be putting in place preventative measures.”
Mr Griffiths also called for more work to be done to educate people about the dangers of coercive control and other forms of non-physical violence, as well as to stamp out female genital mutilation.