Y Pwyllgor Cydraddoldeb a Chyfiawnder Cymdeithasol

Equality and Social Justice Committee


Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Altaf Hussain
Jane Dodds
Jenny Rathbone Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Sarah Murphy
Sioned Williams

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Anne-Marie Lawrence Rheolwr Datblygu Cymru, Plan International UK
Wales Development Manager, Plan International UK
Dr Nathan Eisenstadt Uwch-ymchwilydd Cyswllt Er Anrhydedd, Prifysgol Caerwysg; Uwch-ymchwilydd Cyswllt, Prifysgol Bryste; Cyfarwyddwr Kindling Transformative Interventions
Honorary Senior Research Associate, University of Exeter; Senior Research Associate, University of Bristol; Director of Kindling Transformative Interventions
Dr Rachel Fenton Athro Cyswllt, Ysgol y Gyfraith, Prifysgol Caerwysg; Cyfarwyddwr Kindling Transformative Interventions
Associate Professor, University of Exeter Law School; Director of Kindling Transformative Interventions
Dr Stephen Burrell Athro Cynorthwyol (Ymchwil), Prifysgol Durham
Assistant Professor (Research), Durham University

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Angharad Roche Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Rachael Davies Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Rhys Morgan Clerc
Sam Mason Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:30.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 13:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Equality and Social Justice Committee, where we're continuing our inquiry into preventing gender-based violence. I've had apologies from Ken Skates, who may be able to join us in the latter part of our meeting if he's able to. Are there any declarations of interest from anybody? I don't see any. 

2. Atal trais ar sail rhywedd drwy ddulliau iechyd y cyhoedd: sesiwn dystiolaeth 4
2. The public health approach to preventing gender-based violence: evidence session 4

So, moving onto our first oral session on the public health approach to preventing gender-based violence, I’d very much like to welcome Anne-Marie Lawrence, the Wales development manager for Plan UK—excellent event you held in the Senedd recently—and Dr Stephen Burrell, assistant professor, research, at Durham University. So, thank you very much indeed. Welcome to both of you.

So, I’m going to ask the first few questions. We know that there’s a link between gender-based violence and the context of gender inequality, which is in every aspect of our lives. How relevant do you think gender is to prevention efforts? I.e., is it possible to prevent violence if we still haven’t got equality? What’s your understanding of these interconnections and risk factors for different forms of gender-based violence and how well do you think it’s reflected in the Welsh Government’s strategy and blueprint? Which of you would like to start?

Yes, I can have a go first. I think, yes, there's definitely a clear link. I think, for most children, we put them into boxes as soon as they're born, because society is defining a very narrow definition of gender that we're expecting our children to conform to as they grow up. And I think those gender stereotypes are often very reinforced by society as they're growing up, and I think that then affects how attitudes and behaviours are formed for our adolescence, which, obviously, in turn, then, can lead potentially to the development of harmful attitudes, beliefs, and then they can become social norms. And then those social and cultural norms obviously guide our attitudes and behaviours around gender roles and expectations, and can allow at times the acceptance of violence within a group or community. So, we think gender is a really key point.

I think in order to challenge some of the harmful social norms that allow some men and boys to believe they have an entitlement to be in control over women and girls, and those that perpetuate harmful ideas of masculinity and drive gender-based violence, which may prevent some women and girls from coming forward to seek support or from reporting violence due to the normalisation of this issue, it goes back to how we’re bringing up our children and some of those narrow definitions, and a lack of understanding and education, really, throughout our childhoods about gender equality.

At Plan, we would believe that education throughout the life course is essential in challenging and changing some of these social norms, and that we need to see this modelled everywhere, from our national leadership through to our schools and throughout our communities as well.

Okay, and I know you're doing some very interesting work in this regard in Wales, and it would be good if you could tell us a bit more about that a bit further down in the discussion.

Yes, definitely.

Dr Burrell, Plan International talks about prevention being an ambitious, brave and long-term goal. In your research you refer to political inertia towards prevention. Could you just expand on this and outline what you think the obstacles facing policy makers are in terms of overcoming that inertia?

Yes. Well, I think perhaps one of the reasons for that is that this is such a huge problem, isn't it? It can feel quite intimidating, overwhelming. I think we have a lot of ideas, don't we, that somehow this is something that is impossible to solve—it's inevitable, it's always happened, it's always going to be there—and I think we really need to challenge some of those ideas, because I think it's definitely something that is preventable. There is good evidence out there that, when we do dedicate resources to prevention work, we can make a real difference in communities and reduce the prevalence of different forms of gender-based violence.

Perhaps one of the reasons as well for that is because of the links with gender inequality, which is something that remains very embedded in our societies. That is something that is, I suppose, so normalised that it can feel quite confronting and challenging for all of us, I think, can't it, to learn about the ways in which we have been brought up, and the ways in which we might be conforming, unintentionally, to the gender norms and stereotypes that Anne-Marie talked about, which are very much linked with gender inequality and the reproducing of gender inequality in society.

So, I think, yes: embracing prevention can feel quite confronting on a political level because it asks quite big questions about our society, the world we live in, and whether or not we are willing to actually embrace quite deep-rooted change to our society and to our own attitudes and beliefs. So, I think that that is difficult for anybody—not just somebody who might have perpetrated violence, but for any of us. We have probably been influenced on some level by these norms and expectations about masculinity and femininity, which are very much at the heart of so much violence.

So, yes, I think that tackling gender inequality really is at the heart of prevention. Also, I think that that's such a great question to ask as well, because it highlights that prevention work isn't just about trying to shift individual attitudes and behaviours, or even the kinds of norms and expectations that exist within particular groups or communities, but actually bringing about change at a more structural level in society—you know, moving towards a more equal society will help to prevent this from happening.


Okay. So, is this a hopeless task, given that the Welsh Government doesn't hold all the levers on this? We simply don't control the benefits system, the taxation system. That's controlled by the Government at the other end of the M4. Just to summarise, given that we have limited powers, how fruitful is it to be approaching the issue of prevention?

Oh, it's absolutely vital. I think that we can all make a difference, can't we? Each of us in our everyday lives, we can set an example to others in the behaviours that we model, if we call out everyday sexism and misogyny, if we question some of these harmful ideas about masculinity and femininity that exist in society. If we can do that as individuals, any institution and organisation can have an influence on the people within it and on wider society. So, yes, I think that the Welsh Government can have a huge impact in Wales, and beyond as well. It can set an example for other Governments here in the UK and more broadly, I think, as well, can't it? So, no, I think that there is a huge amount, but I recognise the challenges as well that you mentioned.

Okay. All right. I'm now going to bring the other Members in, who are online, starting with Altaf Hussain.

Thank you, Chair. I think that Jane has raised her hand. She wants to come in.

Oh, I beg your pardon. I'm sorry, Jane. I didn't see you. Jane.

Thank you, Chair. It was just an additional question, really, for Dr Burrell. In your evidence, you say that there is political inertia towards this issue. Can you just try and be specific about what needs to change politically, particularly given that we are in Wales, and about what your views are in terms of what needs to change politically in the Welsh Government's response? Thank you, Chair.

Thank you. Well, I think that we have seen some real change in the last two years, actually, haven't we, after some horrific events such as the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa. I think that that has led to some steps forward, especially perhaps in recognising the role that men and boys have to play, and the need to put an onus on men and boys and to really be addressing ideas about masculinity, given that most of this violence is being perpetrated by men.

But I still think that there is a lot of work to do there, in terms of having those conversations in a much more widespread way. These problems are so deep-rooted. This prevention work needs to be happening across society in quite in-depth, ongoing, multifaceted ways, to have the kind of impact that we need. So, yes, I think that there have definitely been steps forward, clearly, in Wales. I think that you are doing inspirational work here. But, yes, for prevention to really have an impact, we do have a lot of work to do in education, workplaces, all different parts of society.


Thank you very much, Chair, and thank you to both of our guests. Good afternoon. My area of questioning is primary prevention work with men and boys. I am conscious of time, and we have too many questions. It's a huge subject, but I'll try to summarise the questions, so that I may have full answers as well.

What action does the Welsh Government need to take to ensure that men and boys realise they have a major role to play in stopping violence against women and girls? How can this be achieved without generating a backlash or a resistance? And my second part of this question is also: what can we do to address cultural and social norms, which both of you addressed in your answers before, around masculinity, which contribute to violence against women and girls? Thank you.

Do you want to start off, and really talk about the work you're doing in Wales? That would be really great.

Yes. Brill. No problem. I think we need to start off by understanding more about how we even do this work in the first place. It's quite complex, and, as you said, we need to be very mindful about not provoking backlash and we need to be sensitive about how we do this work, and I don't think anybody has the answers yet to know exactly how to do it. I think it needs to become normal for boys to recognise how they feel, and to be able to talk about it and to feel safe doing so, but that's quite a shift for a lot of boys and men, because of those social and cultural norms that we referred to in the last question. I think it's important to recognise that there are many different ways in which this work could be done. I don't think there's one project or one solution; I think there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach.

Through our work in schools, we found that a large majority of boys said they felt that they needed to be seen to be tough. Many said that they didn't feel they could be their true selves around their friends and some displayed quite concerning attitudes around the acceptance of violence within relationships. So, this led me, personally, into research projects in Wales for boys, to see what was out there and see if I could find work that was happening in single-gendered settings, exploring issues with boys that are relevant to their lives, and, apart from a few good examples, I really couldn't find very much.

So, as a result of this, Plan UK in Wales are funding eight grass-roots organisations to carry out test-and-learn projects. So, these are working directly with boys and young men. They have a diverse range of approaches, from a project in rural mid-west Wales with 13 to 15-year-old boys in a local community garden, a project in Swansea using music and DJing to help boys connect to their feelings around masculinity, and a project by Safer Wales working with young men in custody. All of the projects are happening at the same time, and they are supported by ourselves and Beyond Equality, who are experts in working with masculinity. We've trained the project facilitators and we've formed a community of practice, where we share our experiences, challenges, ideas and successes together. So, these test-and-learn projects are about giving those who support young people the space to learn and explore what works, and how to create the right conditions for boys and young men to feel safe to think and talk about exploring masculinity, mental health, relationships, et cetera.

Also, during my time looking into projects and examples of good practice, I came across a project in New Zealand called 'She Is Not Your Rehab', a global anti-violence movement birthed from a community barbershop. And we're now exploring opportunities about hosting them here in Wales later in the year, with the hope that we can spark a conversation about what more we need to do here in Wales to achieve some of our ambitions set out in the VAWDASV strategy, and about how we start to change the narrative around how we approach family and domestic violence.

I think the time is now. We can't afford not to act on this. Our young people are experiencing all that the previous generations have plus a whole new online world to navigate, and if we don't look to change things now, then, I think, we're going to have even bigger problems in the future. I believe that we need to further invest in youth work, so both generic provision and specialist projects, where young people can do issue-based work and projects about the issues that are affecting their lives and relationships, and to do this, we need a very well-equipped and trained youth work and volunteer force and gender transformative approaches. We could look to the new Wales Without Violence framework and think about how we could work within schools and education and provide safe activities, trusted adults, and we can look to how do we change and challenge those harmful social norms and values.

And then one final point from me on this: although working through the education system is key, we need to be really mindful of the pressure already on schools and teaching staff, and that some of this work needs a specialist knowledge and understanding, and that we can't just keep on asking schools to pick some of this stuff up.


Okay, fine. Stephen, do you want to respond any further on that particular point?

Yes. Well, I would just build on what Anne-Marie was saying. I think we need to be having conversations with boys and men from as young an age as possible, really, because as soon as we're born, we start being confronted with all of these kinds of gender stereotypes, which boys are confronting and having to deal with, and not just young people, not just in formal educational settings, but across the life course, like in the workplace. When men become fathers, I think parents could be having a lot more support on these issues to help them to model the kind of behaviour we want to see in society. And I do think it is about trying to instigate those dialogues, both within formal settings and in the more informal conversations that we have as well.

I think dialogue is really important, isn't it, in terms of what the question was, about backlash. So, I suppose, trying to avoid lecturing men and boys, like we have the answers and we're telling them how to behave, but I suppose listening to them as well and where they're coming from, what their experiences are like and how they're having to face these pressures and expectations about being a man, which they're getting from wider society. You know, they didn't create these expectations; they're having to deal with them through things like social media and so many different parts of their lives. So, having conversations with them as much as we can. And what I think, and everything Anne-Marie said, which I think is so important, is, like, how these issues are interconnected, aren't they? On the one hand, that does mean that these are huge problems, but on the other hand, that means we can actually move forward in tackling multiple problems simultaneously, potentially.

So, if we start talking to boys and men more about the pressures that they face about masculinity, like, 'Be tough, be strong, don't show your emotions, don't ask for help', we can help to get to the roots of different kinds of violence and abuse, which is predominantly being perpetrated by men and boys, but also issues that men and boys themselves experience, like poor mental health or loneliness and isolation. So, having those conversations with them, I think, hopefully will show to men and boys that we have so much to gain from these conversations as well. And putting the emphasis on the positives there, like how we all benefit from change; we can all play a positive role in creating change, and hopefully through that—.

And I think also, in terms of the backlash, I think there's always going to be some degree of backlash, right? So, I think we should just be prepared for that and not let that put us off. I think that, yes, there might be a small but vocal minority expressing those views, but actually there's a much bigger group of men and boys out there who just don't know what to think about these issues and aren't quite sure, and if they had more help and education and dialogue, I think we could really help to move them and then move men and boys more broadly as well.

Thank you very much. How should Government engage with men and boys in implementing this? Do you have any examples of best practice? And also, as you say, we have to put it in the schools to boys, and the new curriculum will now place a greater emphasis on teaching healthy relationships in a developmentally appropriate manner. Do you think this should be sufficient to help change attitudes towards gender-based violence, and how can we best extend that message to those no longer in formal education?

Who wants to go first? Don't bother to read what you've prepared. Just tell us from the heart. I'm sure you've got lots to tell us. But keep it reasonably brief. So, Anne-Marie, do you want to go first?

Yes. I think it can't just be done in schools. I think the new curriculum, that's great, that it's going to put more emphasis on it, but I think it needs to be everywhere, so it needs to be throughout the life course. I think the messages need to be reinforced everywhere. The Welsh Government are taking good strides and making progress, and we've got things like the new national bystander initiative, which will hopefully help spread some of these messages and help people understand how they can play a more active role when they spot a problem. But, no, I would say it needs a life-course approach, so we need to be thinking about education across all ages and across all of society, and that not all of our children are in the mainstream school setting, so how do we educate those children who aren't in school as well.


Yes. Anne-Marie mentioned earlier the need for a gender-transformative approach, and I think that's what a lot of the research highlights, really. If we're talking about healthy relationships education, I think that is vital, and it is great that that is something now that is mandatory in our schools. I think relationships of all different kinds are at the heart of this, really, aren't they? Not just in a romantic sense, but things like friendships; often, boys and men don't have many healthy friendships with each other where they can really talk about our emotions and all these different things. But I suppose, yes, within that, we have to be able to talk about issues of gender, I think, like how there are different expectations placed on people within relationships based on these gender norms and expectations. So, yes, I think this gender-transformative approach, which the research really supports, is about not just recognising but actively seeking to address these harmful gender norms and these gender inequalities in society, and there are great organisations doing that, specifically with men and boys here in the UK, such as Beyond Equality, the White Ribbon campaign. But I think, yes, as an example of how far we still need to go, the resource for these kinds of organisations doing this kind of prevention work is very small, really, when you look at the scale of the problem. So, there is good work going on out there, for sure, but I think it's quite small when we look at how big these problems are. There's a lot more of that kind of work needed, as well as the kind of work that Anne-Marie mentioned that Plan are doing, and others.

In doing all of this, can you assure me that it will be done without shaming men and boys who are involved in this?

Yes, I think, absolutely. As I've already said, we need to understand more about how to do this work, and that's why we're funding the test and learn projects, because I don't think we quite know yet. There are some very tricky issues in the lives of our young men, particularly, when we're thinking about online influencers and things like that, and we need to do this work sensitively. There needs to be an understanding of what's driving men and boys who are aligning with harmful attitudes and beliefs, and we need to listen to how they feel and what it is that's influencing them, or what's attracting them to, maybe, some of these more harmful influences. I think this work needs approaching with understanding and sensitivity, and we've got so much to learn about how to do this work without creating shame, stigma and backlash, and without pitting one gender against another. We need to help our young people learn how to emotionally regulate themselves, and I think we need to do a bit of work about exploring how we find, build and model alternatives for our boys and our men.

Yes, I would just add to that that these are difficult conversations to have. They can be uncomfortable. They can make us all think about times when we might have behaved in ways that we weren't very proud of, or we wish we'd behaved differently, but, yes, it's absolutely not about shaming men and boys. I think that's why it's so important to emphasise that this is a social problem, isn't it, where we're all learning these norms and expectations from wider society. It's not about blaming individuals at all, but it is thinking about how we're all impacted detrimentally by these expectations and how we can all play a positive role in shifting them, in our lives, in our communities, so making those personal connections to how this does affect each of us personally, not putting shame on anyone but emphasising the positive responsibility and role we all have to play.

So, do you think the relationships and sexuality education really addresses, or starts to address this? Obviously, it's a work in progress.

Well, yes, I think it's a start—for sure, yes. I think there could be more on the specifically gendered issues in there, but also I think it's not just down to that subject area, perhaps. I think it's interesting to think about how we could talk about issues of gender inequality, issues of social justice, across the curriculum, and how could we embed this more in all of our learning on a day-to-day basis, and make sure that teachers are getting enough support and training on these issues so that they feel confident to talk about them, and not just one or two teachers, but teachers across the curriculum, to make sure that they're not reproducing any kind of harmful attitudes, and that they're actively challenging them as well, or feel confident to do that, and, yes, to actually embed these kind of issues of equality in the actual curriculum across the board more, I think. 


Yes, may I just ask another question of Dr Burrell? I think we're really keen to get concrete ideas of what works and what doesn't work. We're here as a committee to hear really good evidence that says, 'This is good. This isn't.' I know you've done some work, I think it's right, in relation to working with the business sector on this particular issue. I wonder if you could just give us some really good examples or findings that we could take into Wales that would help us in that work with the business communities. Just a few examples, if that's all right, Chair? Thank you. Diolch yn fawr iawn. 

Yes, it's a great question, because I think that's really important, isn't it, because, again, that's an example of how we could be doing this with adults, not just with young people. And I think the workplace is such a crucial setting, and the business sector is such an important setting for that. There hasn't been as much work as it would be good to see in the business sector, but there are some good examples. And I think it goes in two directions, doesn't it. Businesses can do things in the wider community in terms of raising awareness of these issues, speaking out about them, challenging some of these gender norms. So, if you think about the Gillette campaign—I don't know if anybody remembers that from a few years ago—called 'The Best Men Can Be', after the #MeToo movement, they put some adverts questioning some ideas about masculinity that exist in wider society, and asking questions about how men and boys can play a positive role.

But also, of course, businesses have to look internally as well about how they work as an organisation, how embedded gender equality is in the organisation, are they actually setting a good example themselves in that regard, are they actually tackling issues of violence and abuse within the organisation. Here in the UK, there are schemes that exist to help businesses do this kind of thing, like the White Ribbon campaign, which has accreditation for businesses, about how they could encourage men within the organisation to actively speak out about violence against women and girls, for example. So, there are initiatives out there. I know organisations like Beyond Equality do training for businesses as well, so, training staff and maybe initiating ongoing dialogue as well among staff, like creating a group for male allies in the workplace, and for men to discuss different issues connected to masculinity with one another, including how we can actually speak out about issues of violence and sexism in the workplace. 

There's a great organisation based in the US called Equimundo. They've done lots of great research on this. They've worked with businesses like Dove, who've had this Dove Men+Care campaign. So, there are some good examples out there, yes. 

Thank you. Can I bring in Sarah Murphy at this point?

Thank you very much, Chair, and thank you, both, for being here today. I'm going to build on what my colleagues have already said, and ask, really, that we can look at what the research supports, and drill down a little bit more into what the research is showing is working. You've already said that there's still a lot of unknowns, and, as you've also pointed out, there is not an unlimited amount of funding. So, it's good for us to kind of get a steer on what is and is not working. So, I'm going to look specifically at the violence prevention campaigns that we've already seen. So, could you just give me any insight that you have into what you think makes a successful public education campaign, in terms of raising awareness, challenging attitudes that tolerate and minimise violence, and changing behaviours to stop violence against women and girls happening in the first place? Do you think that these campaigns work? What does the research tell us? Is there any point in even doing them?

So, I would say that campaigns have a place, but they need to be done in conjunction with more intensive and direct forms of intervention. So, Plan's evaluation shows that they can raise awareness and they can influence attitudes, but, ideally, they need to be combined with other more direct interventions to actually change behaviour. It's important that campaigns have a clear call to action. I think, personally, it would be exciting to explore—like Stephen just about the Gillette campaign—how we could utilise brands and businesses, influencers, high-profile figures, alongside some of the campaigning work that Welsh Government does. And also, there's an opportunity, again through the new national bystander pilot, to explore how both campaigns and direct interventions could potentially work together. And on that note, I also think, as an addition, that it would be interesting to think about the bystander initiative and how we could use that with young people too, which is currently out of the scope of the current programme. But I think there are some opportunities there, for sure.


Thank you. And just to come back in, campaigns can raise awareness and challenge attitudes, but can't change behaviours unless they're done in conjunction with other initiatives. Dr Burrell, I just wanted to further ask you, then—. You previously carried out research into how young men make sense of the violence prevention campaigns. Can you tell us about the young men's responses to the prevention campaigns you've studied and their impact on actually changing masculine norms that perpetuate sexism and misogyny, please?

Yes, absolutely. So, I think that, with the young men I spoke to, they were quite powerful in instigating conversations among them about these issues, which they welcomed having, especially if it was making links with their own lives in ways in which they could relate to, which is hard, isn't it, for a big, nationwide campaign to do that. So, that's one thing, isn't it, that maybe it is good for them to be quite targeted, focused on a specific issue. Perhaps it can't cover all aspects of gender-based violence in one campaign, which I think shows as well the need for ongoing campaigns to be addressing different issues as part of a broad theme of trying to prevent gender-based violence.

I think campaigns absolutely can make a difference. I think that they send a powerful message, don't they. And I think the young men echoed this, those that I spoke to, that it's about saying what we as a society and what the Welsh Government are willing to accept or not accept. What are the behaviours we want to see and encourage, and what are the behaviours that we don't? So, I think that they can be powerful in that respect. But I do agree with Anne-Marie that I think they're limited on their own, in terms of what they can do if there's not that more deep, face-to-face work, where you're having more in-depth dialogic conversations because, I guess, a campaign is quite one directional, isn't it. But, perhaps, one way to shape them as well is to actually listen to young people or whoever it is that we're aiming the campaign at—hearing from them in the shaping of it, and hearing from experts as well to make sure that—. We have seen some campaigns, haven't we, which have, perhaps, not gone down well or perhaps have been a bit misguided, or something like that. So, yes, listening to experts, I think, is really important.

And I suppose there is the risk, isn't there, that campaigns, if they are just on their own, can maybe seem a bit superficial or inauthentic or a bit tokenistic if they're not followed up by that deeper action. But, also, there can be some people who might respond defensively to them if it's just a campaign on its own, which is why I think there is the need for those more deep-rooted conversations at the same time. But, as Anne-Marie said as well, perhaps we can also use influential people in the communities to deliver these campaigns, these messages. People that young men and boys might respect and really look too can be quite powerful spokespeople, perhaps, for the message.

Thank you, and that brings me on nicely to my final question, which is that, as you both said, role models can play huge part in this. Off the top of my head, I can think of men, role models, famous people who have talked to me about mental health, who have talked to me about substance misuse. I can't really think of anybody who's talked openly in this area, especially when it comes to reflection, possibly, on previous actions.

Sport is seen as a particularly important space for work to prevent violence against women. There does tend to be this kind of lad culture, some people have said, in these areas. Then, if you've got some key people in there who are role models, who are instigating these conversations, they can make a difference. So, have you got any research that you can point to that supports this—the role that men's peer groups have in shaping how they have a sense and make sense of violence against women?

I was going to make a slightly different point, but I'll address this. I haven't got access to research at the tips of my fingers, but I know there was some great campaigning work that was done in Scotland. They used sports people and high-profile people as a part of their campaign.

Also, I think, when we're thinking about our younger boys and men, thinking about online influencers as well, it's a huge thing. So, a lot of young people are spending an awful lot of time online; there are key people who are very influential, and there are a lot of young boys who are very into gaming as well. So, thinking outside of the—. The sports stuff is great, but also thinking outside of that, maybe, for those young people who might not associate themselves so much in that.

And then my other point, which was slightly separate, was going to be just about being involved in some of the blueprint groups for the VAWDASV strategy, and there's mention of campaigns in some of the different groups. I think that, when we're approaching our thoughts around campaigning as part of this strategy, we just need to ensure that it's co-ordinated, and that we're joined up and that we're really clear that we're not duplicating and we're really clear that there's some oversight across the different work streams about what we're trying to achieve with the different campaigns. 


Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm good now, thank you, Chair.

Okay. Sioned wants to come in, but I think, Stephen, you may want to also comment on that last question.

Yes, absolutely—

Ocê, ie. Diolch, Gadeirydd. Roeddwn i jest eisiau gofyn am yr effaith o ran yr ymgyrchoedd yma i godi ymwybyddiaeth. Ydyn nhw'n cael llai o effaith? Achos rŷn ni wedi clywed gan rai dioddefwyr eu bod nhw'n teimlo bod effaith yr ymgyrchoedd codi ymwybyddiaeth yma'n cael eu cyfyngu gan yr ystod o amser maen nhw'n rhedeg ar eu cyfer. A hefyd, eu bod nhw ddim, efallai, yn portreadu sefyllfaoedd mewn ffordd authentic—efallai yn tocenistaidd, fel gwnaeth rhywun ddweud, dwi'n meddwl. Roedd y goroeswyr yma'n teimlo bod rhaid i ni wneud yn siŵr bod yr ymgyrchoedd codi ymwybyddiaeth yma'n rhai cignoeth, mewn gwirionedd, yn darlunio'r sefyllfa fel y mae. So, roeddwn i jest eisiau cael eich sylwadau chi ar hynny: ydy'r rhain yn rhy fyrhoedlog ar hyn o bryd—rhai o'r ymgyrchoedd codi ymwybyddiaeth yma—ac ydyn nhw efallai ddim yn ddigon cignoeth?

Yes. Thanks, Chair. I just wanted to ask about the impact of some of these campaigns to raise awareness. Do they have less impact? Because we heard from some victims that the impact of these awareness-raising campaigns is restricted by the amount of time they run for, and also that perhaps they don't truly portray the situation in the most authentic way—that it might be a little tokenistic. These survivors also wanted to ensure that these campaigns were effective in portraying the situation as it is. So, I just wanted to hear your comments on that: whether these campaigns run for enough time at the moment, and whether they have enough meat on the bones.

Do you want to go first? I missed the first part of the question, so feel free to.

I'm not sure I feel fully qualified to answer the question, but I think they're really key points that have been raised by survivors there. I think, possibly, in my opinion, yes, I think they could be seen as tokenistic. We need to put a lot of consideration if we're planning future campaigns, about maybe co-designing them with both the people who we want to reach, but the people who have been affected by their behaviour.

Yes, no, I totally agree. I think this goes back to what I was saying before in terms of listening to people in the designing of campaigns, including listening to survivors and having their voices heard and influencing the creation of a campaign. Because, I think, if we think about who's going to hear the campaign in the community, we really have to think about that, don't we? How are different groups, including survivors, going to receive this and feel about this? And, yes, I think it just shows, doesn't it, the need for this to be a long-term commitment and in-depth work that is going on at multiple levels, and that people can see that it's joined up. This isn't just a TV advert; this is a whole Welsh Government approach that's happening in lots of different settings in people's lives, and the campaign is just the tip of the iceberg of that, in a way.

If it's okay, I'll just go back to the previous question just quickly as well. I think that point about men's peer groups is so important, because I think that that is at the heart of a lot of this violence. I think, so often, it's about men trying to prove their masculinity to their peers, to prove that they are a real man, and the insecurities and anxieties that can often exist there because these expectations are actually impossible to live up to. So, actually, yes, men's peer groups can, on the flip side of that, provide a really positive space if those kinds of sexist and misogynistic attitudes are actually being questioned and challenged among your friends.

I do think sport is a great—. It can be a place where this behaviour can be quite normalised, but it can also be a space—. I suppose one challenge we have is just where to find groups of men where we can engage with them on these issues, so sport is a really obvious and potentially great place to do that. So, yes, if we can get more high-profile sportspeople involved in speaking out, I think that would be really important. But there is also research as well, which I guess it's important to mention, that if we think about role models, the most influential role models invariably are people close to us, like family members, friends, sports coaches, people in our more immediate lives, so maybe we could think as well about how we could encourage men who do have influence over other groups of men in communities—how can we get them more actively involved in speaking out about this among the men who they have influence, potentially, with?


Nevertheless, we know that, when the wrong team wins, it leads to a spike in violence in communities, just because a particular game didn't go the right way for people who passionately support them. So there has to be some responsibility on these very high-profile sports organisations to counter-attack the negative impact they're having. I mean, what experience have you got of holding them to account in this respect? Not necessarily individually, but of other people saying, 'There's more that you need to do'.

I mean, one thing for me that we can see—. Perhaps there have been some steps forward made in spheres like football around challenging issues like racism and homophobia—obviously those are still huge issues—but I think somebody already mentioned that we don't really see, in sporting environments, there being much conversation about gender inequality and sexism and how normalised that is in football stadiums or sports stadiums or in dressing rooms and things like that. So, I think that sport has a long way to go in that regard, but it can play a really positive role, right? It can spearhead campaigns, because it can have a real influence on fans, on spectators, on people playing the game, because that is a real space that matters to lots of men and boys, isn't it?

But I think, as well, we put a lot of focus on the players, but what about all these powerful people in boardrooms who are invariably men in the sporting world and who have a lot of resources and power but aren't really talking about these issues? So, yes, how could we perhaps use some of the resources and power that sport has in that respect as well to be speaking out more on this?

I would agree with that. I would say that it's up to the leadership of sport to set the culture and the tone for what happens within their sports and the areas that they control, and there needs to be a level of accountability, to ensure that our governing bodies and our sporting bodies in Wales are held accountable to setting the right culture within their organisations.

Thank you very much, Chair. I wanted to ask just two questions of both of you, because we've heard, certainly from Anne-Marie, about the work that you're doing. I'm from mid Wales—great to hear about that programme you're hosting in mid Wales, but I just wanted to ask you, firstly, both, please, how can we effectively assess the outcomes of these programmes? What evidence and information do you have, practically, that help us understand how effective these programmes are? Could I start with Anne-Marie, if that's all right, first, please?

Yes, that's fine. I think, obviously, at the moment, everybody just takes their own approach; there isn't a standardised approach to monitoring the effectiveness or measuring the effectiveness of programmes, so that might be something worth considering in the blueprints, about if we're funding or supporting organisations to deliver interventions, does there need to be a more standardised approach to measuring the effectiveness of those. Because, at the moment, everybody will just use their own different measures. So, yes, I think that's definitely something that's worth considering. In our education programmes, there is no standard approach, so we look at our own baselines and end lines and are constantly trying to improve the way in which we can measure and demonstrate the effectiveness of our programmes.

So, what evaluation do you do, then, of the interventions you're doing in schools?

So, on our schools programme, we do baseline surveys with the young people and we do end lines. So, we're trying to measure attitudinal and behavioural change and also increased knowledge. So, on our education programmes in schools, we do some specific work around peer-on-peer sexual harassment, so we try and measure their knowledge at the beginning of the programme and at the end of the programme, to see if their knowledge has increased, and then there's a set of questions around, like I say, attitudes and behaviours. We run different types of programmes and interventions, so each one's slightly different as well. But as you heard at the Senedd event, we have a champions programme, so some of that as well is looking at the effectiveness of what those champions then go on to do within their schools and the impact that that has on their wider school communities.


Thank you. Dr Burrell, could you just tell us how you're—. You are the academic here; we're grateful to you for your time. Could you tell us how you think we can actually look at the outcomes and see which ones are effective? And if you can give us one specific example, that would be really helpful. Thank you. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

I think that's a really important question. Unfortunately, I think a lot of this does come back to funding, doesn't it, because to be able to really evaluate—. I think evaluation is so important, to be able to identify what works, what doesn't, what should we be really pursuing, but that does require money, doesn't it, as part of a programme, to be able to really do a good evaluation of that. So, I think trying to build that in wherever possible to these projects, to these sources of funding, is really important. Because I suppose the gold standard of evaluation is things like randomised control trials, where you're comparing a group who has not had any intervention with a group who has, and seeing the difference, and things like that. But, yes, that does cost money, and of course you need to have skilled academics involved. And there have been—especially in places like the United States, on university campuses—some of those kinds of evaluations of this kind of primary prevention work, which show it can really have an impact. But, yes, it does require a lot of work and investment.

And I suppose one thing to say as well is, because this is quite complex, difficult work as well, it's quite hard sometimes to find that really concrete evidence, to prove that this has had the demonstrative impact on someone's behaviours that we want it to. So I think there is an element as well that we have to recognise that these are really important conversations that we need to be having with our young people, even if there isn't always the concrete, conclusive proof that it's going to have this impact within six months, or something like that. I mean, there is evidence it works, but, yes, I think we should actually be having these conversations still, even where we're still trying to develop that proof as well.

It might be worth looking to examples like the youth endowment fund, which funds projects throughout the UK, looking at how to reduce violence in young people. They do a lot of randomised controlled trials, and a lot of their work is around looking at how do we really understand about what works. So, that might be a good source to look for examples with. And then, with our test and learn work that I talked about earlier, where we're doing the work around working with boys, we're working with the Wales Violence Prevention Unit to look at our findings from that piece of work, and we'll be producing a report with them later in the year.

Chair, I think Sarah had a follow-up question to ask—

I'm happy to come in after you, Jane, so you can keep the flow going. I just had one question to come in at the end, really.

Okay. Thank you. So, I just wanted to ask you both a very general question, if I may. We're doing this inquiry, which is entitled 'A public health approach to gender-based violence'. I don't know if this is unfair, but I wondered if you could both just tell us what you thought that consisted of—how could we in Wales look at a public health approach to gender-based violence? And I know I'm asking you to do the impossible, but if you can give us a couple of sentences that, in your view, capture what this approach could look like, I'd be very grateful. I don't know if Dr Burrell wanted to go first this time. Thank you.

Yes, sure. Actually, I remembered something perhaps in response to your previous question. There is one initiative—the Intervention Initiative. I think you've got Dr Rachel Fenton, you'll be speaking to her in another session; I think she led on that, and that's a very good example of bystander intervention in the UK university context, where there was clear evidence of impact there. I think they may have used a public health-influenced approach to shape that. I think evaluation is a key aspect of a public health approach, isn't it, trying to really find evidence of what works.

But I think, for me, a public health approach comes back to recognising the links between different things, different issues, different behaviours. So, not just seeing it as being an individual problem, whether that's individual survivors, or individual perpetrators, but making the links with how are we as individuals shaped by our relationships, by our communities, by society as a whole, and then how does that lead to a problem like violence against women and girls at those different levels. I suppose when we can identify where the problems are, we can also identify at different levels in society how we can prevent this. Prevention, I think, is a cornerstone of a public health approach, really, isn't it? So, I think that is what it's a really good approach to take, because it helps us to recognise that it is something we can prevent like other public health issues, and how can we do that at different levels in society.

The only thing I would say is that maybe one minor critique of a public health approach is it can become a bit depoliticised, a bit gender neutral, perhaps. So, I think it's really important to always remember and put at the heart of this tackling gender inequality, that that has to be at the centre of preventing this within a public health approach.  


Yes, I'd agree. I think with the focus on primary prevention, we just need to make sure that we're working across all of society—again, thinking about the life course, what are the most important points where we can have particular influence on some of those developments of attitudes and social norms. I think it's about ensuring that people are supported, and recognising that this isn't a stand-alone issue—it's so interlinked with so many other issues around poverty, around trauma, around adverse childhood experiences, around mental health.

And then also, for me, primary prevention obviously is really important, but secondary prevention and early intervention is key. I don't think we know enough about what should we do when we start to see things going wrong, or we start to see a problem or an issue. I think that's an area where we need to think about how can we learn more about that, and about what some of those interventions are. We've got some work around perpetrator programmes and things like that, but quite often by the time that somebody gets to that point, they are so far into the criminal justice system, and there's probably been years' worth of red flags before that. I think we need to be thinking about some of that early intervention—what can we be doing before it gets to that point.  

This is just looping round to what I was asking earlier on about what works, and also the prism through which this is being seen through. I'm quoting here the White Ribbon Australia 'Men as Allies and Preventing Violence against Women: Principles and Practice for Promoting Accountability'. What I wanted to ask about was the accountability aspect of this, because as we've seen and as you've touched on, a lot of the campaigning that happens makes it clear that it's not all men—it's some men. 

'Consequently, many violence prevention campaigns involving men use a dichotomy between "good men" and other men. Strategies have been developed to enable men to feel that by standing up against violence they are the "good men" and that they can demonstrate a healthy masculinity.'

White Ribbon campaigns, for example, have endeavoured to avoid men becoming defensive, but, as an impact of that, you are creating these two groups.

'Campaigns that focus on "real men" and chivalrous forms of masculinity reinforce men’s dominance and power. When men present themselves as the "good guys", they exceptionalise themselves from the wider problem of men’s violence and gender inequality. This means that they are likely to be less aware of, and accountable for, their complicity in men’s violence. Accountability in this context, means educating men about their own privilege'

and gender inequality. So, it's like everything that you were saying—this is a wider issue, it's a wider societal issue. So, there is the need for co-production, there is the need for no shame and no blame, but how do you also get that messaging across that men do have to be part of taking accountability for the wider problem of men's violence and gender inequality?  


Yes. I'm not sure I have that answer, but yes, I agree with you. It's something that we need to learn how to do. There are some men who already recognise the need and will be very active allies and supporters, and there are a lot of people that will think it's not their problem when it really is. I think it's everybody's problem, and if we can help everybody to recognise that we all need to be a part of the solution and that everybody is accountable for being a part of that, then that will be really good. A lot of the questions are around how do we do this stuff, and I think for me, sitting on some of the blueprint groups, that’s the big question. We’ve got some great ambitions and I think we need to understand more about how we do some of these things. 


We're delving into the areas that I know Sioned Williams wanted to ask about, so I'll bring her in as well, and obviously, Stephen, you can answer at that point. 

Diolch. Sut rydyn ni'n gwneud hwn dwi eisiau sôn amdano fe, achos rŷn ni wedi sôn yn gyffredinol yn nifer o'r cwestiynau heddiw ynglŷn â'r angen ar gyfer newid dros gymdeithas gyfan er mwyn atal trais yn erbyn menywod a merched, a'r angen gwaelodol yn hynny yw meithrin cydraddoldeb rhywedd. Rŷn ni wedi siarad tipyn bach ynglŷn â gweithleoedd a rôl busnes a rôl chwaraeon a'r mathau yna o gymdeithasau, ond sut y gall Llywodraeth Cymru hwyluso'r pethau hyn? Beth yw rôl Llywodraeth Cymru yn y gwaith yma o sicrhau bod gweithleoedd a'r sector busnes a byrddau sefydliadau yn chwarae eu rôl?

Thank you. The question is how we do that, and that's what I wanted to talk about, because we've spoken quite generally in the questions today about the need for change across the whole of society in order to prevent violence against women and girls, and to, as a foundational principle, build gender equality. We've spoken a little about the workforce, businesses, sports, and those kinds of societies, but how can the Welsh Government facilitate these things? What is the role of the Welsh Government in this work of ensuring that workplaces, businesses and boards in organisations play their roles?

I think partly, I guess, as with all these things, probably, it does come a little bit back to funding, doesn't it? Some businesses I think can and should be investing in this kind of work themselves, shouldn’t they? But perhaps there are also smaller businesses who don’t have the room to do that. But if there was more prevention work that had funding that businesses could then collaborate with, I think that would be brilliant—if there was more developed prevention work going on across the UK that businesses could connect with. But also, yes, I think businesses themselves could be spending more of their money doing more work in this area themselves, because they themselves will have more healthy, thriving workplaces if they address these issues. So maybe the Government could also be putting more expectations and pressure on them, even things like regulations and things like that, to expect businesses to be tackling these issues, and not just tackling them but actively seeking to prevent them, addressing things like gender inequality.

On the sport example, one thing I meant to say is I think sport provides a good example as well, because if we look at how much money different sporting institutions invest in women’s sport versus men’s sport, that is a massive manifestation of gender inequality, really, isn’t it? It shows who do we value in society, whose stories are we interested in and things like that. So, yes, I think there are lots of different things the Government can do. Funding is part of it. It’s not just about funding, though. Placing more expectations on organisations would help, and leading the way as an employer as well, of course. 

The CBI nearly consumed itself over these issues recently, so how do you expect these businesses to lead the way on this when their own leadership is so deficient in this regard?

Hopefully that will provide a real wake-up call to the business sector. I suppose it shows that there has to be leadership coming from Government to be putting pressure on them. But yes, I think you're right—that just shows the depth of the task in hand, really, doesn't it? And the businesses who are members of the CBI need to be putting a lot of pressure on them to change. 

Diolch. Mae gen i un cwestiwn penodol i Plan International. Rŷch chi wedi cyfeirio yn eich tystiolaeth chi at Girls' Rights Collective Wales. Allech chi roi gwybod i ni pa sefydliadau sy'n cael eu cynrychioli yn hynny, a sut maen nhw'n gweithio gyda'i gilydd i greu newid? Ydy'r collective yn gweithio gyda Llywodraeth Cymru, er enghraifft, i gynllunio gweithgareddau sy'n hyrwyddo atal ac i gynllunio newid?

Thank you. I have one specific question to Plan International. You referred in your evidence to Girls' Rights Collective Wales. Could you tell us which organisations are represented in that, and how are they working together to create change? Is the collective currently working with the Welsh Government, for example, to plan and implement prevention activities and to create change?

The Girls' Rights Collective Wales was an initiative started by Plan UK with funding from the Moondance Foundation. I can't list all of the organisations because we've got over 160 organisations who are part of that. It's free to join, it's open to anybody who is interested, and we provide at least a monthly event. Sometimes that's online, sometimes it's in person. Last month we were in the Senedd doing our event on how can we make Wales a safer place for women and girls. The aim of the collective is really about collaboration. It's about bringing together some of those conversations. It's about learning about the issues that are affecting girls and the organisations that want to support them. We provide training as well. Quite often, our members will talk to us about things that are affecting the young people that they support, so we will try and put on training to help educate the workforce as well. I have forgotten some of the parts of your question. Was there anything else specifically—


Roeddwn i jest yn gofyn a ydy'r collective yn cydweithio o gwbl gyda Llywodraeth Cymru wrth gynllunio'r gweithgareddau yma neu'r hyfforddiant.

I was just asking whether the collective is working collaboratively with the Welsh Government at all in their planning of activities or this training. 

I would say yes and no. There is more room for that, and we would definitely invite the Welsh Government to help inform that. The Welsh Government have kindly funded the collective for this year. So, there's definitely room, and we are open for collaboration. The whole idea of the collective is about that collaborative voice and the change that we could create if we are all working together. 

For me, one of the things, particularly, in the third sector is that it can become a very competitive environment because we are all fighting for funding, and it's a very challenging environment. I think that if we could learn together—not just the third sector but all the sectors—how to collaborate better, how to avoid duplication, and how we could use our strengths and assets to help and complement each other, I think that that would be really good. But it is hard because of the structures of the way that things are set up, particularly around funding.

You sent us some fliers of good practice, which are things that you are doing. Are all of these things funded by the Moondance Foundation? If not, where else is the funding coming from? 

Currently, our funding from the Moondance Foundation—our current period of funding—is just coming towards its end. They have very kindly funded Plan for the past four years in Wales. We are now moving towards a more mixed model of funding. So, yes, we are exploring different ways in which we can fund our Wales work at the moment.

So, that includes the Education Developing Gender Equality—or EDGE—programme. That, at the moment, is funded by Moondance, is it?

Yes, it is, and that funding is currently coming to an end. We have been piloting the EDGE project and different formats of it through the flexibility that the Moondance Foundation gave us. Obviously, we have done some great work, and as you will have heard from the young people presenting at the Senedd last week, we have developed some really powerful programmes that we would love to continue. We are currently exploring funding around that. 

So, the EDGE programme wasn't pan-Wales. It was in specific local authorities, was it?

Currently, the pilot projects that we have done have mainly been in south Wales. Plan does have ambitions to expand, more nationwide, and will be a delivery partner on the bystander initiative, which will obviously be a Wales-wide programme. The collective now is getting many more members from outside of south Wales. So, we definitely have ambitions to be a Wales-wide delivery organisation. 

Thank you for that. I interrupted you, Sioned. Did you have any further questions? 

Is there anything else that you wanted to say that you haven't had an opportunity to say, very briefly?

There was a great question, and it connected with what you were just saying. If we are talking about work with men and boys, which I think is so vital to preventing this, I think that that accountability point is really important—that we make sure that, in doing that, we get the balance right. 

It's very easy, isn't it, to draw dichotomies, perhaps, among men: good men, bad men, perpetrators, ordinary men. Perhaps we construct these ideas that perpetrators of violence are completely different, like monsters. So, I think that we need to break down some of these things and recognise that this is very widespread. Anybody could perpetrate this kind of abuse, and that's why we need to be having these conversations across the board, and helping all of us to relate to how this affects us all personally.

Those can be difficult conversations about things like complicity, but I think that it's about getting the balance there between, on the one hand, having the challenging questions, but at the same time, talking about the fact that we can all play a positive role in that. But, yes, I think that that work needs to be done very sensitively, including by listening to women's organisations, survivors, making sure that everybody supports that work. 

Also, it was a great point about making sure that we are not inadvertently reinforcing some of the kinds of stereotypes about masculinity that we actually want to break down. You know, if we are saying things like, 'Real men wouldn't do this or that' for example, I think that that can help to perpetuate the problem, potentially. I thought that that was a great point.


Thank you very much indeed, both of you, for coming in to talk to us today. We will send you a transcript, and obviously you will be able to correct anything that we have captured wrong. We hope that you find this a useful way of continuing your good work.

The committee will now take a 10-minute break and come back at a quarter to for our next session with our two further witnesses.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 14:35 a 14:45.

The meeting adjourned between 14:35 and 14:45.

3. Atal trais ar sail rhywedd drwy ddulliau iechyd y cyhoedd: sesiwn dystiolaeth 5
3. The public health approach to preventing gender-based violence: evidence session 5

Welcome back to the Equality and Social Justice Committee, where we're continuing our inquiry into the public health approach to preventing gender-based violence. I'd now like to welcome Dr Nathan Eisenstadt, who's a research associate at the University of Exeter, who's joining us online, and a director of Kindling Transformative Interventions, which we'll hear about later; and Dr Rachel Fenton, who's here with us in Cardiff, also from the University of Exeter law school, as well as being a director of Kindling Transformative Interventions.

We've obviously had some very high-profile crises recently around this issue of gender-based violence. The Confederation of British Industry has had its little local difficulties, which nearly destroyed it as an organisation, and similarly the Welsh Rugby Union has also had a very public airing of some of the problems related to them as an organisation. There seems to be consensus in the research community that gender-based violence arises because of gender inequality. So, how difficult is it, therefore, to tackle people's behaviour around respect for each other when we definitely don't have gender equality? And we're not going to have it any time soon, given the slow, slow burn that is simple things, like the Equal Pay Act 1970. Do you want to start off, Rachel? 

I can. I was just wondering if Nate wanted to—. I can see Nate, but I don't think he can see me. So, Nate, did you want to go first, or do you want me to go first?

I don't mind. You can go, and then I'll go. 

I think it's very difficult, and it really shouldn't be difficult. I think that it is about the holistic approach, and I think that's the approach that you're looking at in Wales. It's about thinking about the different levels at which this occurs and the different points at which something can be done. And I think it's, for example, if we start saying, 'Okay, well we need to work with men', okay, yes, of course we need to work with men, but we need to work with men as part of a whole load of other things. We need to work with schools, but that's no good if they're going home and getting these messages from the parents. So, I think that it's the public health approach and the different tiers and thinking about what are those influences and causes at different levels of society. So, you've got the individual level, what that particular individual is doing, saying and perpetrating, all the way up from perhaps sexist attitudes and beliefs, all the way up to being an actual perpetrator of domestic violence, and what factors are influencing that individual, but recognising that those people live within society.

I'm thinking about Hagemann-White's diagram to understand the different levels and the causes, which I personally refer to all the time. I think it's really, really helpful. So, you've got the individual, then you've got the micro levels, so all those relationships and peer relationships and the school environment that they're situated within that may facilitate that person to go forward. And then you've got the meso and then the macro level. So, the meso might be the bigger picture of the school, so the schools that don't take action when something is reported, or the university, for example, or the workplace that let it go on. And then you've got the macro level, which is the legislation, the criminal justice system, your gender inequality, the non-enforcement of laws around this, for example, the criminal justice system and the problems within the criminal justice system. So, I think it's about looking at all of those different levels and seeing what we can change as a holistic approach, because it's no good just doing one little bit; it's got to be a whole system.

Yes. I completely agree with Rachel. I was also thinking about Hagemann-White. I guess, we can't do any of these things in isolation, and we do need to tackle systemic injustice, the wider gendered inequality and the way that intersects with other vectors of difference, and not lull ourselves into a false sense of security that doing individual level or social norms interventions is going create that change upon its own. At the same time, I think we need to understand systems as co-constituted by micro-level interactions. So, systemic change takes place through top-level changes to policy and the law, but it also changes—. We have to think about who makes those changes to policy and law, and those changes to policy and law are made by people, people who have conversations with each other, who are influenced by bystander interventions in their workplace. So, I think we want to be doing this micro-level stuff at all levels, because the high-level stuff is co-constituted by those low-level interactions.


So, we've got the new curriculum. It most definitely does address a lot of these issues in both relationships and sexuality education and in our religion, values and ethics and the general whole-system approach to learning. How are we going to ensure that this good work going on in schools is really translated more holistically to ensure that all men and boys realise that they too have a responsibility towards ensuring a reduction in this gender-based violence that seems so endemic in our society?

My particular expertise is around bystander intervention, so I can talk about it from that perspective, but I think that building on what Nate was saying about those micro-level interactions is absolutely crucial. Work goes on in schools, but it can't be a one-off; it has to be repeated and it has to be repeated at the different age groups, because they're going through different changes at different times. Again, I think it's about not having a tick-box, and it's about, in the schools, very much making sure that teachers are absolutely equipped to have those kinds of conversations, and not putting it just on teachers. I think that's grossly unfair and, from the little bits of work that I've seen published, there can be quite a few difficulties with a teacher-led curriculum when they're not fully equipped.

So, that's just to think about what does that look like as a holistic thing within the schools, and what's being done in nursery education, for example, in pre-school. What's there around gender inequality, particularly when the majority of pre-school staff are female? Those are the role models that they see doing this kind of work, this pastoral, care-level work. So, it's about what's appropriate at age 11, what's appropriate at age six. How do we make sure that that is happening, and how are those—? These are very difficult conversations to be having with young people. I have a 12-year-old daughter. Can we expect the personal, social, health and economic education teacher, or its equivalent, at secondary level to be able to have those conversations? So, that would be one question.

And then the other question that I've got is around how we make sure that these kinds of conversations are happening at every level. So, we've done a lot of work with universities, but we've then started doing a lot of work with adults, particularly men and boys, but also general communities in trying to get to different levels of the population. So, I am specifically now referring to the work we've done around bystander intervention as a way of having those conversations and a way of getting to those people and changing attitudes, minds, et cetera.

What we've noticed—we've done quite a few evaluations after the universities project—is that, apart from the evaluations that show the attitudinal and the behavioural shifts, which I'm sure you will ask me about, we see that they do work in the sense that we see men of middle management coming and then, in the post-intervention interviews, saying, 'Do you know what? Because I've been on this course, I have changed the priority for the next board meeting or the next system, and we're going to look at this. I hadn't thought about that before.' And going back and saying, 'I hadn't thought about the way in which I communicate with my teenage son.' And going back and saying, 'I've had a conversation with my wife about sexual harassment and sexism on the street, and I've talked to my daughters, and I've talked to their boyfriends and I've looked at their relationships.' So, although you can go in and say, 'Right, this is a workplace sexual harassment issue,' what the bystander does is it changes the attitudes, the beliefs and the understanding that are behind that. Yes, you can go on it, and say, 'This is continuous professional development, and it's workplace,' but, actually, they're going to use it in different areas of their lives, and that improves going down the age group and going up, changing things at a higher level. On our active bystander communities, we had people coming for CPD, so we had a paramedic, for example, who then said, 'I've talked to all my police friends about this and suggested that they all do this. It's not just about me as a paramedic, but it's me out on the street; it's me when I visit people's homes; it's everywhere that I kind of go.'

So, I think it's about, yes, it's got to happen in schools; yes, it's got to happen in companies; yes—. And at the same time, the sort of top-down policy as well that means that they've got to pay more attention to the gender pay gap, to gender equality, to reporting within companies and organisations, for example.


Okay. Before I bring in Dr Eisenstadt, I think Sarah Murphy has a supplementary question.

Thank you, Chair. I really appreciate it, and thank you both for being here today, because you've both already used the phrase 'bystander intervention', and in your written evidence, and in everything that is out there, and I'm just going to ask a question that I hope doesn't sound twp: what do we mean by 'a bystander'? Because it's used, as far as I can see, in many different ways, contexts and phrases. 'A bystander', to me, is somebody who's passive and neutral—I get that. 'Don't be a bystander', the Welsh Government's campaign in terms of the holocaust; I get that. 'Active bystander interventions' doesn't make sense to me at all, that whole phrasing. So, can you define—? And you kind of touched on now what you mean by 'a bystander'. I'm getting that it's men in boardrooms, but can you define what you mean by 'a bystander'? Are we all 'bystanders'?

Because we're all—. Right, okay. [Laughter.] Is it the opposite of a—? No, that's good. Is the opposite of a perpetrator a bystander?

Okay. So, just to finish, basically, do we want to be a bystander, or an active bystander? And I don't know how you'd be an active bystander, because you're no longer bystanding. And I suppose, has this word been deliberately used so that people don't feel called out for being actively involved in misogyny? Please explain. Thank you.

Shall I go, and then you can add in what I've missed?


Or do you want to go first, Nate? I've talked a bit.

Why don't we hear from Nathan, and then you can come back in?

Yes, yes.

Okay. So, yes. As Sarah has correctly identified, we're all bystanders all the time. So, a bystander is just someone who is witness to a situation or is disclosed to about a situation, but they are not directly involved as either the wrongdoer or the perpetrator, or the victim. And we are talking about training people to be active bystanders. When we say that, it means training people to skilfully intervene in some way, to either prevent further harm or respond to harm that's occurred. A big part of the bystander approach is this kind of idea that we have a misperception of social norms and that inhibits us from intervening, and it encourages wrongdoers to keep doing what they're doing.

So, if we take the example of someone telling a sexist joke, when that happens and nobody calls it out, we look around the room and we misperceive the social norm. So, we look around the room and no-one is saying anything, and we think, 'Uh-oh, everyone else agrees.' In actual fact, most people in that room are probably thinking, 'I'm not okay with this, but I don't want to say anything, because I don't want to be the pariah. I don't want to be the one who's calling it out and I'm worried that no-one's going to back me up.' The wrongdoer's looking around the room, and they're getting a kind of false consensus, so they're looking around and thinking, 'Oh, everyone agrees with me. I'm going to keep doing this.'

So, bystander training is about equipping people to intervene in those often low-level, but not exclusively low-level, situations. Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to do that, to say, 'Hang on a minute, I'm not okay with that; that's not right', whatever it is, and to call it out in some way. And they can do that in the moment. If they do it in the moment, then other bystanders see that it's safe to intervene, and that encourages them to either support the person there and then, or to intervene in future.

And so, it's a kind of grass-roots approach to culture change, and it takes the presupposition, as you identified, that the actual social norm is better than what we perceive it to be most of the time. And this is one of the things that—. It's kind of perplexing to see the levels of gender-based harm, gender-based violence that we see in society at the moment, when we also know that there have been huge amounts of positive social change over the past 60 years. How can it be that there is this really positive shift in terms of attitudes, but we're seeing all this stuff keep happening? So, from things like the British social attitudes survey, we know that positive and healthy attitudes and norms are actually quite widespread, and what we need to do is equip people to make that a reality by intervening to prevent harm as it's unfurling and prevent further harms. I guess one of the things that we do is not only to train people how to do those small interventions in the moment, but also to have those deeper, transformative conversations after the fact. So, meeting up with a friend or a colleague for a coffee or a beer afterwards and saying, 'Oh, you know that thing you said the other day, I felt a bit uncomfortable about that because—' and you know, talking about the reasons why, to really bring people with us.


Of course, of course. I suppose I'm not—. I completely understand what 'bystander' means. I suppose in this context, the terminology—. If we're all bystanders and we're asking people not to be them, wouldn't it better to say, 'Don't be a bystander, be an ally'? I suppose 'ally' is a word that people associate with more, and I just think that sometimes the way that this term is being used—. Like I said, 'active bystander', that doesn't even make sense. I just wonder if the terminology around it is—. But like I said, we'll get into this later, I suppose. Both of you have highlighted that not all programmes are created equal and everyone is kind of bandying this around a little bit differently, I think.

Yes. So, I guess this comes into the specifics of messaging that we would use, like in a particular campaign as opposed to whether it's an effective approach to be taking overall.

Coming back to schools, though, some of them will be victims of violence, others will be perpetrators of violence—in the staff, I mean—and, unless you deal with that with some pretty robust training programmes, you simply aren't going to get children and young people learning about the depth of this issue.

Absolutely, and I think that—. I think it's got to be. Again, if you think about the schools as a whole system, it's within teacher training, what's happening actually within teacher training, what's happening within nursery training and all of those trainings that staff do before they go into working with children, and how do we refresh, for somebody who is an older teacher who's been around a long time, to change their attitudes and to change their beliefs. So, it's around training the staff, making sure the staff are equipped. Because I don't think it's fair either—. We were up in Northumbria this week doing some training with people who already are experts in domestic violence, and this stuff is really difficult, to have those—. Even if you already work in the area, a lot of people were saying, 'These conversations—there's a lot of work in delivering this stuff.' It's not just, 'Here's a PowerPoint and I'm just going to go through it.' So, I think that work has to start—. It has to start in universities, if it's not already—. Do you know what I mean? We want it to start in schools, but in the universities, particularly for the people who are coming into contact with young people—. So, yes, absolutely, staff training.

Gender inequality in schools is a massive issue. How are girls being treated differently to boys? How is that being modelled? And how are we then training up our young people within our universities, colleges, nursery schools et cetera to have those conversations? Or not even conversations, but, you know, to not do the things. And that's really difficult. I think it's really important that, who teaches these subjects, they really are secure in their knowledge and their training, because I think that—. If you think about rape myths and accepting rape myths, how widespread that is within the population, of course you're going to have teachers who buy into those ideas, of course you're going to have university staff, of course you're going to have people in big companies. These are widespread misconceptions, and they can be incredibly damaging.

Okay. I'm going to bring in Jane Dodds at this point, because I know she's got some questions on perpetrator transformation programmes, which is on cue.

Yes, thank you very much—diolch yn fawr iawn. Thanks for being here. I just really wanted to ask you about perpetrator transformation programmes, or as I know them, I guess, perpetrator prevention programmes. The first batch may be towards yourself, Nate, but obviously you're welcome to come in with any other interventions as well.

It's about the effectiveness of them. It's about, really, are they delivering what we want, which is, hopefully, to get to a point where we have perpetrators transformed, walking away with a different attitude and position. Are they successful? What sort of programmes are they if they are successful? And how can the Welsh Government just approach it in a way that says, 'These are successful programmes'? So, just take that first one, if that's all right, Nate, but, Rachel, please do come in if you feel there's anything to add.


So, there are kind of four spheres of work with perpetrators that are active at the moment in England and Wales. So, you've got your one-to-one work; you've got your group work, your domestic violence perpetrator programme, more referred to as 'domestic abuse perpetrator programme', and maybe that's more what your question is around. Then we have the kind of disruption dimension, so this is at the higher-risk level, so using multi-agency risk management to disrupt perpetration through a series of different mechanisms. And then there's a wider sphere of multi-agency information sharing and co-ordination. 

I'm going to—

Sorry, Nate, is it helpful if I just say it's not necessarily about multi-agency risk assessment conferences, or multi-agents, or multi-agency public protection arrangements? It's about those programmes that are either court-ordered or people volunteer to go on them. What do they look like? How effective are they, and how can Welsh Government—?

So, I guess, and sorry to avoid it. 

One bit more. I guess it's the—. So, Gondolf's work, which was seminal work on domestic abuse perpetrator programmes, saw them as existing within a co-ordinated community response, and it's the co-ordinated community response dimension of domestic abuse perpetrator programmes that we tend to see less effectively implemented in the UK. And so that's the kind of multi-agency ecosystem that sits around the domestic abuse perpetrator programme, and that's what allows it to be—that's one of the things that allows it to be effective and accountable. 

So, there's some really, really strong—. Well, there's some really promising evidence on the effectiveness of domestic abuse perpetrator programmes. So, things like the Mirabal report showed really promising signs. We've seen a number of other studies that have shown perpetrator programmes reducing violence, reducing abusive behaviours for the intervention group, and increased feelings of safety for victim-survivors. I guess what we're lacking is that gold standard, randomised controlled trial evidence of the effectiveness of domestic abuse perpetrator programmes, and that's one of the reasons that we're doing the current study at the University of Bristol called REPROVIDE. I guess, just because we're lacking that gold standard of evidence doesn't mean that those programmes that have shown really promising evidence through different methods weren't effective; it just means we can't say that they were effective as categorically. So, the absence of that 100 per cent 'yes' doesn't mean that it wasn't. 

I think the Respect guidance is absolutely critical to the effectiveness and safety of domestic abuse perpetrator programmes. Like all interventions, it's one of those things where commissioners want it, commissioners look at the cost, and, then, will sometimes say, 'Can we do it cheaper?' and 'cheaper' often means not working with the organisation who works with the victim-survivor and not having integrated partner support. So, it's having integrated partner support, it's an intervention being of sufficient duration, there being a functioning multi-agency ecosystem around it, there being skilled facilitators. You can become a facilitator of a domestic abuse perpetrator programme with very little training, depending on what area of the country you happen to start volunteering or you look for a job. And it's really variable. 

Of course, the higher the bar you make for someone being a facilitator of what is a really, really skilled job, which has a fairly high-risk component to it—. The higher the bar, the more expensive it becomes to deliver, and it becomes one of these things that, as a society, how much are we prepared to put in to preventing recidivism? And it's that kind of up-front cost to save money in the future. And it's not just about money—it's about reducing harm and making there be fewer victims in the future.


Thank you. So, I just really want to be clear. Domestic violence intervention project programmes have been going on for 20 years, maybe more. Is what you're saying that there isn't anything that tells us that this is the best model, the most effective model? Is that the situation? Or is there anything we can look at? You mentioned, is it, the Mirabal report. Is there anything we can look at that says, ‘This is what's effective. This is what works. This is what it costs’? Is there anything we can—?

Absolutely. So, Mirabal’s fantastic. They looked at what is really the dominant model of perpetrator programmes in the UK. Also, Hester and Lilley's review of perpetrator programmes and Vigurs's 'What Works' review of perpetrator programmes, and the Respect guidance itself are all extremely helpful in terms of what is most likely to be effective. The reason that we don't have—. You might say, 'Oh, they've been going for 20 years, we know all this, and this is all through expert practitioner analysis and through academic research and a huge amount of qualitative research: how can it be that we don't have a randomised controlled trial that categorically says that this is the way to do it?' Part of the reason for that is methodological and ethical. It's extremely difficult. So, if you think, just quickly, 'Okay, so we're going to do a perpetrator programme and it's going to be a randomised control trial, so x per cent—maybe half, maybe a third of the people—aren't going to get the intervention.' So, okay, your family needs help; you've been identified as a sufficient risk level—'Sorry, mate, you're not going to get anything, but we still want you to complete four sets of questionnaires over the course of a year, minimum, maybe over two years, and we also want your partner or ex-partner to complete questionnaires over the course of a year, maybe two years, and possibly do some interviews.' So, your attrition rates, your drop-out rates, for the control side of the intervention are often really high. Often, there's a lack of matching within the control. It's a really difficult topic to study through this kind of medical approach, and it's something we're trying to do, but I think we also have to, as a society and as people—. We have to think, based on what we know, what is most likely to be effective to tackle this complex problem, and maybe we don't have this standard, but we have a good standard of evidence. To me, that implies an ethical responsibility to do, to the best of our knowledge, something about it.

Okay, but you could compare one type of approach to another. I appreciate you couldn't do no approach, because of the ethical—

You can do A versus B, yes, you can do that, and there have been some studies that have done that, with promising results. Bizarrely, and I think it's a feature of the chronic underfunding of both work with perpetrators and research with perpetrators, we're at a really early stage. Although these interventions have been going for a long time, we're at a really early stage of—. We should be thinking with fine granularity around what facilitates the change: is it this activity or that activity? No. We're trying to figure out does it work or not, and we're using a really catch-all intervention in trying to figure out if that works and, if we can show that, then we will move on and say, 'Okay, let's go a bit more granular.' But we're years behind where we would hope to be by this point.

Thank you. That's fascinating. I join with Jenny in this in that I find it incredible that, over a period of time, we haven't got a programme that works. I get we can't do RCTs, but we can do something that says, a year after programme’s finished, two years after, five years after—. May I ask, Chair, if there's anything you feel we could look at that would help us to understand what a successful model looks like? Would it be possible, Chair, just to ask you just to send a link through to the committee clerks or anything you feel would be helpful? Thank you.

So, just moving on, may I ask both of you the question that I asked in the previous panel, which is, this inquiry that we're conducting is called 'a public health approach to gender-based violence'. I wonder if both of you could just explain or just give us your perspective on what you think that looks like for us in the Senedd. What does a public health approach in Wales to gender-based violence look like? I'll give Nate a break, having grilled him, so perhaps maybe ask Rachel to go first. Diolch. 


Yes. My understanding of a public health approach is a lot of focus on prevention, so trying to stop something before it actually starts, and looking at the three different layers, which is often, I think, presented as a triangle, although it probably, in a way, shouldn't be. So, the primary level is what can we do at the very low level to try and stop it actually becoming a thing before it starts, or when it's perhaps, in this context, at the very low level, and then the second is how do we respond at the secondary—so, when it is happening, the first response, so when sexual violence has happened, when domestic violence is happening. And then the tertiary is the work after the event with perpetrators.

But, I think I would come back again to Hagemann-White and the diagram that—. Literally, I pulled it up on my phone, in case you haven't seen it. It's really helpful for understanding the response to the different causes. So, in one half, it looks at what are the causes at the different levels, and then what interventions are needed, all the way from the legislative down to the individual risk factors that people have.

So, I think, for example, with bystander, it can work at the bottom end, at the micro and individual, and possibly the meso levels, for example, but it's not a macro thing, but you would think about what might work at the macro, or even a super-macro, if you thought about international obligations around violence against women, for example—the Istanbul convention, those kinds of things. What could we do with law and policy that makes these things happen at the lower level?

So, I think, for me, it's a combination of public health looking really at primary, because we spend—. It isn't just the cost exactly, as Nate said, but that cost of the secondary and the tertiary is so immense that we should be doing the stuff at the primary level. 

Thank you so much. Nate, I don't know if you have anything to add to that. Thank you.

No. I mean, I think Rachel has described the public health approach. We can talk about different dimensions of what we would do with people, but I think that's enough, yes.

Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Gadeirydd. Thank you.

Okay, very good. Thank you. Over to Sarah Murphy again.

Thank you very much. I'm going to ask some more questions about bystander interventions, which is what I was asking earlier on about what we mean when we say that. I was going to also mention that you talked about the World Health Organization 'RESPECT Women' report, and that clearly says—the No. 1 thing that it says that all countries must be doing is to advocate to make violence against women unacceptable, and that such violence should be addressed as a public health problem. So, I wanted to ask you how—. I mean, we've just heard from my colleague Jane Dodds about how we go about doing that, but what questions do you think we should be asking Welsh Government about this bystander programme to demonstrate its effectiveness? As I know you've already said, it is difficult to measure, but when you look at the WHO 'RESPECT Women' report, it had a number of areas, and we are seeing work across the globe that is proving to be effective. So, what can we be pointing to when we ask Welsh Government to look at this and to be able to demonstrate that their programmes are going to work?

Who would you like to go first?

Well, why don't you go first and then we'll come to Nathan? Is that all right?

Yes. So, I think this point about, 'Not all bystander programmes are created equal'—I think Nate's picked out a lot of difficulties and issues around the research around perpetrator programmes, and that's the same when we look at all the evidence. If we looked at all the evidence worldwide, there's a significant amount of evidence, but what's really crucial is that the programme that the Welsh Government is going to employ, and the people doing it, have that credibility within the field. So, it's about what is in that programme, how do you show that it's based on best evidence, how do you show a logic model, as opposed to—. Because there are providers now; it's become a popular thing, as you said. Bystander has been everywhere since myself and my team did the initial work for Public Health England back in 2013, 2014; it's become bandied around a lot. So, it's about what is the evidence that makes us think, in Nate's words, that it is going to be the best, that it's going to be effective—what's that based on, and then, how are we going to evaluate that? So, making sure that, within that, we are looking at, is it effective, what measures should we be using for effectiveness, and making sure that it's delivered in a way that is absolutely skilled.

So, I think we're looking at what are the changes from pre to post with people, looking at a variety of measures that have been documented within the literature extensively, thinking about are they the right measures as well—always that bit of thinking—and then producing reports as it goes along. So, I think, if you're following all of those things, if you're working with academics, working with the public sector, working with providers and making sure that it's absolutely relevant to the people doing it—. So, that's the thing: it's got to resonate with the people who are doing it. It's no good giving them things that just are not what their everyday life and experience is; it's not going to work. So, absolutely checking all the time for evaluation, and evaluation is part of the public health approach. So there's the public health approach generally to violence, and violence against women, and then there's the specific public health approach within primary prevention. And that approach requires that it's long enough, it's of sufficient dosage, it's comprehensive, it takes people through a set of psychological changes, that it is evaluated, that it is delivered by really skilled people. Because the danger is that if you don't do it well, you can send people back the other way. So, if they come to you with a question and it's not answered or it's not dealt with in the right way, you can make them more entrenched in what they believed in the first place—yes? So, it is a skilled process, and it takes time and, of course, when something takes time, it takes money.

The evidence has always been around bystander intervention since—well, for a very long time. The White House report back in 2010 was categorical: one-off interventions don't work; they are actually a waste of money. You cannot do this in an hour, and anyone who says, 'Oh, I've got an intervention. I'll come in for an hour and I'll give you some techniques', it doesn't work like that. It's a complex thing and people are going through a whole set of complex things in their minds, as they go through the stages of the programme.


Thank you very much. And my second and last question is to—. You explained that good bystander interventions are designed to increase the ability, then, of bystanders to make safe and effective interventions, and also function to change those attitudes and beliefs, as you so brilliantly explained earlier on, Nate. You know, when people see others speak out, it can have that positive, wider effect, which is wonderful. But I also just wanted to ask, which I talked about in the previous panel as well, about this accountability, because Dr Burrell, who we met in the previous session, his research, actually, where he sat down and had conversations with men in response to campaigns, is excellent, because it shows that, actually, in some cases, the men wanted to transfer, really, talking about the gender-based violence against women and girls and say, 'Well, what about women who are perpetrators?', and almost slightly shift the accountability. Because, as we've heard, going for the individual and bringing that shame and bringing that blame isn't effective. But there's also this balance to be struck where you don't create this dichotomy of the 'good man', of the 'bad man', of the 'good people', of the 'bad people', of the bystanders and the people who are the perpetrators, I suppose; it's working towards a place where we all take responsibility, right, for what's happening in our society. So, do you have any thoughts about that as well, to make sure that we're always being aware of that accountability, and not letting that narrative shift?


Absolutely. So, the bystander approach is profoundly pragmatic. And while it may be right to say, 'You are in the wrong, you need to take responsibility, you need to do this and that', you're not going to bring anyone on board doing it. And sometimes, we have to mobilise concepts that feel a bit uncomfortable in order to get the right result. So, I think, by approaching people as 'good', by approaching people as potential active bystanders, as people who can speak up, who can do the right thing, that's the way that we're most likely to bring most people on board. And we know that within that room, there are going to be people who are perpetrating, but we want those people to be in a space where they don't feel persecuted, because that's when they're most likely to be able to take on information that contradicts their pre-existing beliefs. And when people feel persecuted, when people feel shame, when people feel fear or discomfort about being put in the box with the bad people, even if they are the 'bad people' or they are acting in harmful ways, they just don't take it on board.

So, I think we're very careful in what we do, when we're thinking about people who cause harm, or if we were doing training, we would say 'the wrongdoer', rather than 'the perpetrator', and recognising that there's a huge spectrum of harmful behaviours, and all of us have grown up in a misogynistic, racist, ableist, thin-supremacist, et cetra, et cetra supremacist society, and it would be ludicrous to think that we didn't carry some of those biases and preconceptions and practices into how we articulate ourselves and be human beings. So, it's not like, 'There are these bad people out there', it's, 'There's this thing that we're all part of, and we all have a role to play in changing it'. And, yes, we deal in quite a focused way with what's called backlash, misogynistic backlash, that Stephen Burrell and others have written about, and I guess that you're taking about. And for us, it's really about trying to connect with what are the feelings and needs that sit beneath, and how do we connect with—it's men and boys that we're talking about—how do we connect with men and boys in ways that connect the shared humanity that we have with them, and, yes, orient it to what world they wish to live in.

Absolutely. Thank you very much. And just to add as well, because I know that there are people at home today who will be watching this who have been victims, and we are obviously primarily focusing today on the perpetrator and bystander interventions. But I also can understand that it must be very difficult for victims who see their perpetrator participating in these groups, not actually being called out. And I know I've had constituents get in touch with me, where they've said, 'My perpetrator is now part of a group', and that can be also, I think, very triggering for victims.

Thanks for raising that. I just want to clarify, when we're talking about groups, we're talking about population-level prevention groups, in workplaces and schools, and that there may be people who have perpetrated within those groups but they're not participating in those groups as perpetrators, and the facilitators wouldn't know that they were perpetrators. And when we're working with perpetrators, many of the same approaches apply around being non-shaming, but with that additional very strong orientation to accountability for what they've done, and really naming that.

I'll bring in Altaf Hussain now, who's going to pursue this a bit further on specific points.

Thank you very much, Chair, and good afternoon to both of you. Dr Fenton, you undertook a study of bystander experience of domestic violence and abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Were there are any lessons for the Welsh Government from this research in terms of preventing domestic violence?


I was involved—


—with the violence prevention unit. What we learned from that study is that the people who, first of all, answered the survey—. One of the biggest difficulties is how do you actually get people to answer the surveys if they don't know what domestic abuse actually looks like. So, it's a mind-blowingly difficult thing to do. The people that answered the surveys were people who already had knowledge, so they were people who'd already done training at some point during the last five years, and they were people who were already community minded. But the very fact that they responded to the call for the survey meant that they understood what domestic violence and abuse was. So, you're already picking a biased population.

What I think was really interesting about that was that it confirmed that theory of change about the different processes—so, the more community minded you are, the more likely you are to intervene. The more you feel confident that you have a skill set—even if you actually don't, it's about feeling confident—the more likely you are to try to do something. And one of the things that really struck me about that was that the people that had intervened were having doubts about had they done the right thing; it was consuming a lot of their emotional energy. You know, 'I wasn't sure. I did this. I knew I needed to do something. I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do'. So, one of the things that is really key to these bystander interventions that are done properly is that a lot of time is spent on their skills training. So, it's building a bank of strategies and tools that can be used, and spending a good couple of hours really thinking about different scenarios and what you could do and say in different situations. And what's really key about that is not just that it gives you the skills; it gives you the confidence and it's almost the validation from the facilitators or the rest of the group that those are the right skills to be able to have. So, we train a lot of people, for example, who go through the first three stages, which is that they notice it in the first place—which is half the battle—they feel responsible, they feel motivated, but they get to that point where they don't know what to do. And most of us are in that position a lot. We're like, 'Oh, but I don't know what to do so I'll leave it to somebody else who is better equipped'. So, we saw that with the study as well. It really reaffirmed to us that those people who did have some confidence—maybe not a lot of confidence—were able to do something. It really confirmed, I think, the theory of change for us. 

And I think it's about how we get those people who wouldn't have noticed it in the first place, because the noticing and the knowledge element of bystander is the very first thing. The analogy I always use is if we live in a society where dropping litter on the floor is the norm—you don't bat an eyelid if you're walking down the street and people are throwing litter; it doesn't even occur to you—so, if we live in a society where sexism, sexist banter, sexual violence, sexual harassment is the norm, we don't even notice it. And we might say the same about race and racism. If you don't know what the nuanced forms of it look like, then you can't notice it. And so, that noticing element, it's—. We might all know what something really serious looks like, and what we might not all recognise in a workplace is that nuanced sexism, gender inequality, and out on the street what sexual harassment actually is.

Yes, I absolutely take your point about the study, but I think we learned a lot from the study, not just that people do intervene and will to intervene, but that it's a very specific set of people. And they were the people who were able to recognise and notice in the first place, and therefore were able to pick up on the survey call, which is interesting in itself.

Thank you, Dr Fenton. And can you outline the case for legislating to ensure schools, colleges and universities respond to and prevent gender-based violence, specifically implementing evidence-led bystander interventions such as the Intervention Initiative? 

I'm not entirely sure I get the whole question, because there was a little bit of sound. Sorry. 


I was asking can you outline the case for legislating to ensure schools, colleges and universities respond to and prevent gender-based violence, specifically implementing evidence-led bystander interventions, such as the Intervention Initiative.

I think there's a case, because everything that I've seen, perhaps over the last decade, since we really started talking about universities and this issue—. It wasn’t that there wasn’t an issue; it was that it started to come to light, and, in the States, it had come to light 30 years beforehand, but we weren’t really looking at it. It came to light with some of the first studies about prevalence and what women were experiencing at universities, and what we’ve seen is a response at the policy level. So, we’ve seen, after the publication of the Intervention Initiative, which was the work that we did out of the University of the West of England, we saw Government writing to all vice-chancellors asking them to take up the programme. We then saw what is now the Office for Students but then was HEFCE putting millions of pounds into universities with match funding, to get them to roll out the policy and the reporting and the prevention level.

So, at the prevention level, it was specifically bystander intervention, and it was specifically the Public Health England model that we had created, and very small numbers of universities have actually tackled that agenda. So, we’ve just published—it should be online at Durham; I don’t think it’s online yet at Exeter, but there is a summary out there—. We did a study with some academics at Durham and at the University of Central Lancashire, and we asked people who work in the universities what’s actually been done and where are you. So, four, five years after the Universities UK report that said all these things, some universities had done nothing at all—nothing. And that was about 11 per cent of our respondents. Some were in the very first stages; they might have had a task and finish group, but they hadn’t really done very much. Where they had done the bystander and they’d done the prevention, they changed it. So, they’d either watered it down, bringing in loads of other topics, or they had sort of done it so it is an hour intervention, and it wasn’t being put within the curriculum, so it was based on volunteers. So, therefore, who do you get when you do a volunteer violence against women programme? You get women, you get survivors, and you get the people who don’t need to be there. Getting the people who need to be there is one of the fundamental problems. And the Women and Equalities Committee looked at it, and looked at it several times, and equally said, ‘We need some kind of accountability’. We also know that the EHRC is a terrible enforcer as well, so it’s about where is the accountability for universities for not having some basic things in place.

The difference is that, in the US, for example, there is primary legislation that requires federally funded universities to have in place bystander programmes and a whole other set of things like data collection, so we know what’s actually going on, and to have reporting in place, and to have a proper office that deals with these complaints and all these kinds of things. So, what we see is an absolutely ad hoc response, or no response, from English universities. I would say UK universities, because I believe it’s pretty much the same. And in this study that we did, we talked to all these staff and we kind of got a consensus that most people felt that, without some form of legislation, it was never going to happen, because it’s never enough on anybody’s agenda, or they don’t want to spend the money on it.

So, analogies were being made with the Prevent legislation that meant that there was an obligation and a requirement, and they said it’s a bit like that—no-one’s actually going to do anything until there is an actual obligation. I’ve said this numerous times, and I think the Women and Equalities Committee have now been really specific. We might differ in how that might be done, and I think that’s another conversation. But, yes, those kinds of obligations I think are required.

Now, the problem with schools is going to be around funding. Who has to pay for that? Of course, that’s a different conversation. Around universities, universities receive a lot of money, and I think that it would be a fair assumption that there should be moneys that are put aside or it’s part of funding that says, ‘This is to be absolutely for this issue’. I think that would be perfectly fair. So, the ring-fencing, if you like, of a certain amount of funding that goes, whether it’s from student fees or whether it comes from Government or research outcomes, or whatever it is, I think would be absolutely fair. So, I think that you need a carrot and, at the same time, you need a bit of a stick. My experience is that carrots don't work.

We have also been thinking a lot about corporates. We do do work with corporates and businesses because we do our bystander at work programme, and we work along all of the axes of difference. So, we do do sexual harassment, but, within that, we look at racism and all of these things. With violence against women work, it seems that you can't get people through the door. You can't get companies to sign up to them. Or, if there is an opportunity, the only way in seems to be because there is somebody who is motivated and interested, but then they are taking up free training. So, where there should be free training out in the communities that is centrally funded or Government funded or whatever—however that looks—I don't see why corporates should benefit from that if they can afford it. So, Wales has a lot of business and a lot of corporates who could afford to do the violence against women training. Or, they could put money back into the public purse to pay for that training to go out into the poorer schools and the poorer areas and the areas of need. There are ways of doing that that look incentivised. It is because, at the macro level, it is those other changes that need to be around media and reporting and training, and around legislation and around policy, that are the other side of that coin. I think that legislation has to be really, really important within that because I can't see another way. Carrots don't work, or they only work for some people. 


Thank you very much. My last question is about sport. Sport is seen as a particularly important space for work to prevent violence against women. What part can bystander intervention play in sports, particularly football and rugby? And what role, if any, can sport stars and sports commentators play in helping to end gender-based violence and domestic abuse? We know that the Show Racism the Red Card campaign has been very successful in tackling hate crime on and off the pitch. Could a similar campaign work to tackle misogyny, sexism and violence against women and girls? Thank you.

Shall I go on this one?

So, yes, we absolutely agree that sport has this kind of—. It's a challenge and an opportunity. It's a challenge because we know about the locker room cultures and the harmful behaviours that go on in and around sport. And it's a huge opportunity because of the role that sports players play as leaders, coaches, role models—not exclusively, but particularly, for men and boys in Welsh and English and Scottish culture.

We have done bystander work in football and sport, and we are currently working in football and sport. Would a Show Racism the Red Card type approach work? I think, absolutely. So, there are two approaches. You have your deeper intervention training, where you work with coaches, you work with players, you work, possibly, with members of the club, doing the stuff around how to skilfully intervene. It's all of the stuff that Rachel has talked about around the noticing. That's longer training. It takes longer to do, and it's necessary.

Show Racism the Red Card is more like your public social norms campaign—so, more like SafeToSay in Wales. What we know from the evidence is that using multiple methods is really important to reinforce the message. So, I think that we would say, yes, having some kind of big public campaign, reinforced through video, social media, et cetera, which reinforces the message that's coming through the training—.

In terms of how to make that happen, many of the challenges that Rachel just spoke about in terms of getting this off the ground in schools and universities and workplaces remain within football and sport. One of the things that we thought about before is that this is health and safety training. This should be a key part of a requirement to volunteer at this club, to play at this club. And it could be part of the corporate social responsibility. We just worked with a huge—. We did a bystander programme with an office of the police and crime commissioner—so, Rachel just touched on this—and we worked with a large company. A large manufacturing company signed up to the training. They sent their factory floor workforce on it, and it was really unusual because it was almost exclusively men on that training, and it was so powerful. They wouldn't have signed up voluntarily, but was there resistance? No, it was a really amazing group. Guys reflecting in the closing go-round of, like, 'Yes, I can really see how I'll take this into speaking to my mates. This has changed the way that I'm going to—. I've got a young son and a daughter, and I'm going to stop telling my son to "man up"—this has really made me think about it.' So, I think it's really how we—. I think, as Rachel said, it needs to be top-down and bottom-up, and then we do have to mandate it in some way to get people in the room, because, yes, those are the people we need to be making this change.


We've ran out of time, but I was just wondering if we could extend it for five or 10 minutes max, if that's okay with you, Nathan, as well as Rachel. Fine. Excellent. You wanted to say something, and then I'm going to bring in Sioned Williams.

Yes, just on football and sport, we have done a proper evaluation, a controlled evaluation, working with a football club, and controlling with another football club, and we've seen really significant results. What we found, working with those people, was a real—. We worked with a club to develop the programme, and what we found within that club was a good starting point, because they're all people who want to work in the community. But also, there were little things going on within football and sport that they weren't even aware of, that they had never really thought of in that way, and we saw massive shifts in their attitudes and their beliefs and their bystander behaviours from pre to post, and again at follow up. So, there is definite evidence that it can work.

Again, at the moment, we're working with a charity called Healthy Stadia and Merseyside violence reduction unit, who are funding them to deliver our intervention across that area with grass-roots and bigger clubs. And again, you see it's that thing about—. It's because Merseyside have wanted to do something, and it's not coming from a place of, 'Everybody should be doing it'. It's all individual based, which is an issue.

What I would really like to see, as the Welsh Government goes forward with its bystander programmes, is real leverage and, I guess, real comms and campaigning that makes corporates and really influential places like football clubs and rugby clubs, particularly in Wales, want to get on board, where they start to be perceived as being not on board if they're not doing it. And then you can have individual players, who are such role models for young men, coming out with these messages. I think it would be really, really powerful. But it can't always come bottom-up. It's not that it has to be mandatory, but it has got to be this big thing that we launch in Wales that makes everybody want to buy into it. And I think it's getting those sports clubs on board, because they work, not only at the public perception level, as role models and players, but also the trusts that go alongside them outreach to probably hundreds of thousands of young people in football training, coaching at the lower level, so reaching those people is going to be so important.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Rŷch chi wedi sôn am rai enghreifftiau o arfer da o ran atal trais yn erbyn menywod a merched mewn rhannau eraill o'r byd. Roedd yr enghraifft yna o beth sy'n digwydd o ran y sector prifysgolion yn yr Unol Daleithiau yn ddiddorol. Oes gennych chi unrhyw enghreifftiau eraill, efallai ar ôl yr hyn ŷch chi newydd fod yn sôn amdano fe o ran clybiau chwaraeon, er enghraifft? Oes yna unrhyw enghreifftiau rhyngwladol eraill o ran y sector corfforaethol, o ran y sector cyhoeddus, o ran sector fel y sector chwaraeon y gallwch chi eu rhannu â ni?

Thank you, Chair. You've mentioned some examples of good practice in terms of preventing violence against women and girls in other parts of the world. That example from what's happening in terms of the university sector in the US was interesting. Do you have any other examples, perhaps after what you've just mentioned in terms of sports clubs? Are there any international examples in terms of the corporate sector, in terms of the public sector, in terms of sectors such as the sports sector that you could share with us?


I can. I'm just trying to rack my brains now about sports. I might have to—

I might need to write to you. So, the evidence base particularly is the US, I would say, almost exclusively—not exclusively, but pretty much. In this country, there has been nothing done with professional athletes. I think our Football Onside programme is the first evaluation—it's actually the first sports programme that's been done to any rigour. There are some examples in the US, but they tend, again, to be with campuses. So, most of the body of research is with the universities in the US, partly because they're a captive audience. And there are examples of athletes and athlete programmes done in the US, and I think there are also mentors in violence prevention, but I can't remember the standard to which the evidence is on that—I would have to write to you; Nate might know better than I do.

Yes, MVP—mentors in violence prevention—they do work with coaches. It's quite a long programme, like a short intervention. And they have shown increases in bystander efficacy—so, whether people feel like they have the confidence and skills to intervene—and in attitudes and beliefs. But, yes, as Rachel said, things like—. The ones that have shown reductions in victimisation and perpetration, like Green Dot, although they do work in sport, the studies that I'm aware of were with college students—not specifically within sports teams.

Okay. Is Sioned frozen? Sioned, are you still with us? I'm not sure that we've got the connection. While we're waiting for Sioned to return—. Oh, here you are. Okay. Sioned, are you able to hear us, because, at the moment, certainly your picture is frozen?

[Anghlywadwy.]—beth sydd angen i Lywodraeth Cymru ei wneud, i fynd i'r afael ag atal trais ar sail rhywedd, ac i warchod hawliau dynol menywod a merched? Achos dwi wedi clywed lot o sôn am 'ad hoc' yn ystod y sesiynau yma; felly, deddfwriaeth, rheoliadau, sectorau penodol, beth yw'ch meddyliau chi?

[Inaudible.]—what does the Welsh Government need to do, therefore, to address gendered violence and to prevent gendered violence, and to protect the human rights of women and girls? Because I've heard a lot of talk about 'ad hoc' during these sessions; so, legislation, regulations, specific sectors, what are your thoughts on this?

Thank you. I think it comes back to the systems approach and what can be done. But I think it's about developing a strategy and doing that together with experts in different fields to put that approach together. So, I think what's happening is ad hoc, generally, but it doesn't need to be ad hoc, and I don't think that the different interventions at different levels are actually ad hoc. I think, if they're done with an entire outcome in mind, I think doing what you're doing, which is to collect the best evidence and putting that together, and mapping that against a strategy that is evidenced—so, mapping it maybe against Hagemann-White, for example—and making sure that it's every level. Because—and we've said this already—it's no good doing things with children if we're not doing stuff with the messages they get elsewhere, and I think that's what's really important. So, it comes down to funding, of course—it always does—and it comes down to, I think, being rigorous in the evidence, and not being tempted by what feels good. I think there's a lot of tendency to want to do things because they seem right, or they're feel-good approaches, but really question—as you are doing, actually—what is that evidence, and then working with people who have got a really, really good understanding, and who can inform the wider strategy, but looking at it as a whole and what can you do at each level, systematically really, I think, so that it's not ad hoc, if that makes sense.

I think, as Rachel said, it's the whole-system approach. I guess the only thing to add is just to remind ourselves, or just to bear in mind that poverty is one of the highest risk factors for both perpetration and victimisation, and that we can't do gender-based violence in a vacuum. And often, when we talk about taking an intersectional approach to gender-based violence, we talk about various axes of difference, and that's really, really crucial to do, but we can't miss class and poverty off that. And it's impossible to do a holistic whole-system approach when there's no housing, and I know it's difficult to do, but there's not the housing to refer people out to, and it's all of that. So, just to add that in, really.


Thank you. Sioned, did you have any other questions?

Na, diolch yn fawr. Jest i ddweud 'amen' i'r pwynt diwethaf yna.

Thank you. Just to say 'amen' to that last point. 

Thank you. I just wanted to wrap up a couple of quick things. You were referring to HEFCE, which is the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Is that right? 

Because, obviously, HEFCE and HEFCW are rather similar. So, has HEFCW not taken any initiative on this? 

I do not know the answer to that. 

This was before it became the Office for Students as well, so I don't know if HEFCW is still a HEFCW, or whether that changed as well. I am not aware of anything—

—in Wales. I know, certainly, we asked in the survey that I talked about with Durham, we asked and we got respondents from Wales, from Welsh universities, for sure. So, I'm pretty sure that there's nothing different or even whether that was done with HEFCW.