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Minister says ‘Conversations on accountability for violence against women should focus on the behaviour of perpetrators and not that of victims’

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Conversations on accountability for violence against women should focus on the behaviour of perpetrators and not that of victims, says Wales’ Minister for Social Justice, as the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Today [Thursday 25th November] also marks White Ribbon Day, the beginning of 16 days of activism aiming to end violence against women, putting the onus on men and boys to call out abusive and sexist behaviour among their friends, colleagues and communities.

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Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, said: “Let it be clear that it is not for women to modify their behaviour, it is for abusers to change theirs. The constant and pervasive effects of male violence and gender inequality have conditioned women’s lives for far too long.

“White Ribbon Day and its 16 days of activism focus on empowering men and boys to call out inappropriate behaviours, when safe to do so, and offer support. 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.

“Only then can Wales truly uphold a culture of equality and respect – something we all must carry forward to ensure every single person can live fear free.”

Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), Welsh Local Government Association Presiding Officer said: “Violence against women in all its forms continues to be a devastating scourge in our communities. It is shocking that two women a week are killed by a current or former partner and 10,000 women a week experience sexual abuse in Wales and England. We must all continue to do all we can to bring such heinous behaviour to an end. Local government remains wholeheartedly committed to working to see this ambition realised.

“Every year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women gives us all a chance to consider our actions. There are simply no excuses whatsoever to justify any such violence or abuse. I would urge everyone across all our communities to show their support by taking the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. Together, we can all stand up loud and proud and show that there is no place in society for such barbaric behaviour.”

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The Welsh Government’s Violence against Women, Domestic abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Annual Progress Report for 2020 to 2021 has also been published today, whilst a public consultation on how Wales can strengthen its National Strategy for the next 5 years is due to be launched on 7th December 2021.

This will include a focus on violence against women in the street and workplace, as well as the home, in order to make Wales the safest place in Europe to be a woman.

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Port Talbot

Police launch appeal to find missing disabled woman

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South Wales Police have launched an appeal to find missing Waunarlwydd woman, Kelly Randell.

45 year-old Kelly was last seen in Port Talbot on Tuesday 3 May.

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A wheelchair user with one leg, Kelly is described as being around 5ft of medium build with brown hair which is tied up – possibly in a bun.

She was last seen wearing black jeans and a black coat.

She has links to both Swansea and Port Talbot.

South Wales Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Kelly, or who has information which will help them to find her, to contact them online or by calling 101 quoting occurrence number 2200149152.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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