A NEWPORT woman who survived being shot by her estranged husband and has since campaigned tirelessly for domestic violence reform has been honoured with a St David's Award.

Rachel Williams was announced as the recipient of the Humanitarian Award by first minister Mark Drakeford at the virtual ceremony last night.

This year’s awards were originally scheduled to be held in March but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a message to all the St David Awards recipients, the first minister said he hoped the “everyday but extraordinary” winners will find comfort in their recognition.

The award categories are: Bravery, Humanitarian, Community Spirit, Young Person, Innovation, Science and Technology, Business, Culture, Sport and the First Minister’s Special Award.

Ms Williams is a tireless campaigner against domestic abuse.


Her 18 years as a victim of domestic violence came to an end in 2011, when her abuser shot her with a sawn-off shotgun before taking his own life.

Six weeks later, her 16-year-old son took his own life as he struggled to cope with his enduring trauma.

Ms Williams is at the forefront of pushing the UK domestic abuse Bill through Parliament, and in September 2019, she hosted the first survivor-led domestic abuse conference in South Wales – Stand Up to Domestic Abuse (#sutda).

The conference brought together survivors and professionals including actor Michael Sheen, criminal behavioural analyst Laura Richards, Pat Craven - creator of the Freedom Programme and author of the bestselling book Living with the Dominator, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ national lead for supporting victims Dame Vera Bird.

Nominations for next year’s awards are now open. For more information, visit gov.wales/st-david-awards