The public health approach to preventing gender-based violence

The public health approach to preventing gender-based violence



The Equality and Social Justice Committee undertook an inquiry into the public health approach to preventing gender-based violence. The inquiry explored how effective the implementation of a public health approach to preventing gender-based violence has been, and what more could be done.


Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the inquiry were to:


>>>   Put a spotlight on what works in preventing gender-based violence before it occurs (primary prevention) and intervening earlier to stop violence from escalating (secondary prevention).

>>>   Consider the effectiveness of a public health approach to preventing gender-based violence and what more needs to be done to address the needs of different groups of women, including LGBT+, ethnic minorities, young and older people at risk of  violence at home and in public spaces.

>>>   Consider the role of the public sector and specialist services (including the police, schools, the NHS, the third sector and other organisations that women and girls turn to for support) in identifying, tackling and preventing violence against women, and their role in supporting victims and survivors.



Evidence gathering

The Committee held a consultation and received 21 responses. The Committee also held oral evidence sessions with stakeholders on the dates below, where further information can be found regarding correspondence between the Committee and third-party oraganisations.


>>>   22 May 2023

>>>   12 June 2023

>>>   19 June 2023

>>>   10 July 2023

>>>   11 September 2023



Following the evidence sessions the Committee was provided with the following additional information:


Violence Prevention Unit Wales

School Health Research Network, DECIPHer

Surviving Economic Abuse


Royal College for General Practitioners Wales

Lloyds Banking Group

Dr Rachel Fenton on how UK Universities are challenging sexual violence and harassment on campus




The Committee laid its report entitled: “How we must all play our part: a public health approach to halting the epidemic in gender-based violence" on Monday 15 January 2024.

The Committee also produced a
summary report which covers some of the key themes.


The Welsh Government provided a response on 26 February 2024.

Following publication, Chair of the Committee, Jenny Rathbone MS, stated:


“Two women a week are killed by a former or current partner in England and Wales. A third of women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Due to under-reporting, it is likely that official figures underestimate the true scale of this shocking problem. 


Each victim of this epidemic is a victim too many. To end it, we must all play our part – especially men and boys – by tackling the root causes”.



Further information

The inquiry forms part of the Committee’s work on women’s safety and gender-based violence.  

Business type: Committee Inquiry

First published: 08/03/2023