Welsh Government & Coronavirus: Domestic abuse victim support, home abortions given OK, support for culture

(Title Image: Wales Audit Office, Crown Copyright)

Support still available for domestic abuse victims

Deputy Minister, Jane Hutt (Lab, Vale of Glamorgan), has said support is still available to people at risk of or experiencing domestic violence, who may be stuck with their abuser at home due to public movement restrictions.

The Deputy Minister listed several methods to seek support which will continue through the crisis including:

  • Live Fear Free services are available 24/7 by telephone (0808 8010 800), text (0786 007 7333), email (info@livefearfreehelpline.wales) and webchat.
  • Police will still respond to 999 calls and will recognise a “silent” 999 call by dialling 999 followed by 55 to indicate that you can’t talk but need help (Owen: I’d be careful about silent calls as it may not be possible for the police to locate you – more info from South Wales Police – particularly if you use a mobile).
  • Emergency shelters are being set up (but no details are given).
  • Be aware that other people may be listening in when speaking to people over social media or video calls.
  • Use an emergency word or code to use so those close to you know that you need help and they should call the police.
  • If possible, consider an emergency escape plan and put together things you’ll need include essential items (passport, bank details, clothes etc.) which you can leave with a trusted neighbour.

£18million to support the cultural sector

The Welsh Government has announced a package of support for the cultural sector through the pandemic.

  • £7million Arts Resilience Fund (Arts Council of Wales). This fund will support artists and arts organisations most in need and least likely to benefit from other support programmes. Further announcements are due.
  • £8million Sport Resilience Fund (Sport Wales). This will be used to support sports clubs and partner networks.
  • £1million Creative Wales Fund (Welsh Government) will provide support for grassroots music venues (up to £25,000) and additional support for TV and publishing.
  • £1million Cultural Resilience Fund (Welsh Government) for museums, collections, conservation services, archives and community and public libraries to respond to short-term pressures and recovery actions.
  • £750,000 Emergency Relief Fund (Welsh Museums Federation & Sport Wales) to support the smallest and most vulnerable independent sector sport, museum and heritage organisations with cash flow and other critical issues.
  • £250,000 Digital Library Resources (Welsh Government) which will enable public libraries to provide additional digital resources for the public to use whilst self-isolating.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Ind, Dwyfor Meirionnydd) said: “We’ve listened to our many stakeholders in these vulnerable sectors. These are uncertain times for business and organisations across Wales and we recognise the massive and unprecedented challenges coronavirus is having on the fabric of Welsh life.”

Home abortions given go-ahead by Welsh Government

In line with provisions for England within the Coronavirus Act, the Health Minister has agreed that women seeking an abortion in Wales will be able to do so through the use of medicines at home, following consultation with a medical professional via video link or telephone. They won’t have to attend a hospital or clinic.

“Public safety is our number one priority as we tackle the Covid-19 crisis. This temporary measure ensures that women can continue to access these key services without being exposed to unnecessary risk during these challenging times.”
– Health Minister, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth)

Welsh Government’s legislative programme under review

With a little over a year left of the current Senedd term, the pandemic and alterations to Senedd business will have an impact on the Senedd’s law-making abilities.

The First Minister has announced that the Local Government & Elections Bill and the Curriculum & Assessment Bill (which will form the legal foundation for the new national curriculum and hasn’t been introduced yet) will be the top priorities going forward as they need to become law by a certain date.

All other legislation will be “kept under review”, while regulations relating to the pandemic will be prioritised. The Welsh Government still intends to ensure the Senedd can debate and vote on Legislative Consent Motions (LCM) – which is when the UK Government asks for permission to pass laws in devolved areas.

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