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Successful talk as part of National Domestic Abuse Strategy – 380/2023

By June 13, 2023 No Comments

The Ministry of Equality’s second fireside chat last night which focused on domestic abuse attracted a full audience. Domestic abuse survivor and campaigner, Rachel Williams, delivered a powerful and moving presentation about her personal experience of domestic abuse and of her various campaigns to ensure greater protections for victims of domestic abuse.

The topic for this fireside chat was chosen to coincide with the changes brought about by the Domestic Abuse Act that was passed in Parliament earlier this year. Awareness around the issue of domestic abuse and of the new legislative measures are a key component of the new Domestic Abuse National Strategy.

The event was opened by the Minister for Justice & Equality Samantha Sacramento MP who set the context of domestic abuse in Gibraltar and explained the changes in the new Domestic Abuse legislation and the National Strategy that will support the legislation.

This was followed by Rachel’s presentation which described the horrific violence her ex-husband inflicted upon her but also explored the insidious power exercised by his coercive and controlling behaviour. The new legislation, which includes a raft of new measures, including the new offences of coercive control and non-fatal strangulation.

The event was supported by GibSams, who form part of a subgroup of the National Strategy, and were available to support anyone at the event.

Minister for Justice & Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP said “The response to our public event last night was outstanding. Not only was the room full to capacity but the level of engagement was very high and the feedback from attendees has also been extremely positive. Rachel’s presentation, given the level of violence she was subjected to, can generate very strong emotions. However, Rachel’s positivity and her determination to eradicate domestic abuse ensured that all attendees left feeling very inspired by her and full of admiration for her resilience and strength. Rachel has experienced great adversity and personal loss but is testimony to the power of the human spirit. Rachel spoke very powerfully too about her experience of coercive and controlling behaviour which can be a more subtle form of domestic abuse but which is now a criminal offence under The Domestic Abuse Act. The voice of victims and survivors is essential when learning what steps need to be taken. Additionally, awareness-raising events like these are key to destigmatise the issue and to ensure that victims of domestic abuse know that there is help at hand. Eradicating domestic abuse in all its forms is imperative. The Domestic Abuse Act makes a number of new provisions which will serve to enhance protections for victims of domestic abuse.  In addition to the Domestic Abuse Act, the Domestic Abuse National Strategy and the establishment of a new partnership with the heads of key stakeholder departments all serve to ensure that there is a cohesive and coordinated approach to this issue.”