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Best Campaign in Wales Award

Campaign: Strengthening the Violence Against Women Bill

The 2015 Public Affairs Awards are dedicated to celebrating the best work that the Public Affairs industry has to show. Over 400 public affairs practitioners gathered at the Park Plaza Riverbank for the Awards dinner on Thursday 10th December. PubAffairs was proud to be a Media Partner for the black tie event which was hosted by Adam Boulton, Sky News Tonight’s Presenter. 

Below is Deryn's winning submission for the Best Campaign in Wales Award. 

Deryn worked with committed individuals and organisations across Wales as part of the Wales Violence Against Women Action Group to change a planned law.

In 2012, the Welsh Government published a White Paper to tackle Violence Against Women (VAW), and subsequently published the Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Bill in 2014. From the original commitments and detail published, the Bill had lost many of the impactful measures designed to challenge and prevent VAW in Wales, including any specific mention of women, and the Action Group decided to act to strengthen the Bill. The core objectives were to include measures to ensure a reduction in all forms of VAW, and support for women who experience such violence, compulsory initiatives in schools and measures to ensure employers better understand and assist employees affected by VAW.

A compelling case needed to be made to the Welsh Government to radically alter the Bill, and ensure adequate support across the opposition parties at the Assembly to vote for change. The strategy needed to be integrated across a number of channels, and they developed a high-level public affairs plan that sat alongside an innovative online activism plan and a media plan to support the advocacy required.

Their first campaign win included a name change. The Bill was renamed during the legislative process to the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Bill – to better reflect the need to tackle violence against women following the initial campaign focus. This was not simply about a name change, but significantly shifted the focus of the Bill. This has never happened before in Wales. Further concessions were made in the early stages to include workplace policies and to change the focus of planned national and local strategies to better reflect the impact of violence on women.

Deryn refocused the campaign at every legislative stage to press for further change, with a focus on education for the final stage, where they achieved the following concessions: statutory guidance to be developed including the provision for education about healthy relationships, local authority champions work with schools to raise awareness and help change attitudes, guidance to help develop the ‘whole school approach’ – with staff, pupil and governor champions

At the same time, Deryn worked with NUS Wales to ensure that all further and higher education institutions were included within the remit of the Bill to tackle violence against women on campuses.

Some 2400 people took action online, sharing their online content, supporting the petition or contacting politicians. UK-wide and Welsh national press and media coverage was secured, including Sky News, Channel 4 News, BBC News Channel, BBC World Service and Daily Mail. Young people visited the Senedd to meet AMs and engaged directly to press for changes to the education provisions in the Bill.

No legislative campaign in Wales has delivered such significant change in Welsh law, with such a low budget, and Deryn is proud to have helped to deliver real change in the lives of women in Wales.

The Act became law in April 2015.

Cathy Owens, Director of Deryn said: “We are very pleased to have won the Best Campaign in Wales for the Violence Against Women Bill Campaign at the Public Affairs Awards 2015. Whilst we celebrate, we would like to thank all those committed individuals from across the political divide, and all those people who work hard across the sector to support victims of violence.”