‘The onus of these crimes does not fall on the women’: Welsh minister speaks out on spiking
A Welsh Government minister has spoken out following reports of spiking incidents.
In a statement to the Senedd on spiking yesterday Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said that the “onus of these crimes does not fall on the women”, adding that it “falls squarely on those men who commit them.”
She outlined that the Welsh Government’s ambition to change the narrative on violence against women and ensure the focus is on perpetrators that commit these crimes.
Her comments came during a Welsh Conservative debate in the Senedd which called for Welsh ministers to take “urgent action” to help venues to boost security and train staff.
It comes in the wake of reports of spiking of young women on night’s out, which have recently sparked campaigns to tackle the issue.
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “First and foremost let me be clear that it is not for women to modify their behaviour, it is for abusers to change theirs. The onus of these crimes does not fall on the women. It falls squarely on those men who commit them.
Secondly, to those who know the perpetrators. If you know or see a person that is carrying out these crimes you have a moral duty to report them as soon as it is safe to do so.
We all have a duty in our communities to call out inappropriate behaviours and offer support, where it is safe to do so. This includes men being empowered to engage with other men and boys to call out abusive and sexist behaviour among their friends, colleagues and communities to promote a culture of equality and respect.”
The Minister continued: “We understand the genuine concern of women and young girls around their safety, particularly in the night time economy setting. That’s why we’re strengthening our Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Strategy to include a focus on violence and harassment against women in the street and workplace as well as the home.
“At its heart, the revised strategy recognises VAWDASV is a societal issue that requires a societal response.
“Tackling male violence, gender inequality and misogyny require action at both ends of the spectrum; we must support survivors and we must hold perpetrators to account but we must also create genuine behaviour change.
“This is how we will combat the insidious and pervasive negative attitudes towards women that can manifest in acts like spiking.
Working together as a united community, ensuring that we stop perpetrators from carrying out these heinous acts, we can all work together to make Wales the safest place in Europe to be a woman.”
Following the debate in the Senedd Conservative MS Janet Finch-Saunders said: “Spiking is a modern phenomenon that strikes at the very core of my concerns about safeguarding the well-being of our loved ones when they are out and enjoying our hospitality venues.
“Clubs are taking action to distribute protective drink toppers and young women are donning denim jackets to prevent unwanted injections.
“To disorientate and risk unconsciousness through spiking a person’s drink is a diabolical and such a cowardly act by a minority of individuals that is now threatening the safety of our young people and the viability of our excellent night-time industry operators.
“The seriousness of the situation requires the Welsh Government to undertake a rapid and stakeholder-led review to find out the true number of needle spiking in Wales and explore ways that venues can take preventative measures. We also need confirmation that such discussions would be used to update the Substance Misuse Delivery Plan 2019-2022.
“I pay tribute to those young campaigners who have worked to highlight this concern, as well to the proactive work undertaken by industry professionals and those prepared to step up admission searches.
“But I remain resolute that Welsh Government should play a role in assisting efforts to combat this issue, including by supporting the enhancement of CCTV to aid with evidence collection and providing assistance in the training of staff on how to spot and deal with spiking incidents.”
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