On Friday, the Menopause Bill was debated in Parliament and some huge steps forward were made. I had a speech prepared but I didn't get chance to make it. Instead, I have written it here:
Today is World Mental Health Day. If you want to reach out and find some support, there is help out there.
If you haven't done so already, try to speak to your GP, as they may refer you to specialist support or therapies. If you feel in immediate danger, please ring 999
Emotional support 24/7, 365 days a year.
Call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Infoline: 0300 123 3393
Mind Swansea | Mind - For better mental health (swanseamind.org.uk)
Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L)
Mental health helpline for Wales offering a confidential listening and support service.
Freephone: 0800 132 737 or text HELP and your question to 81066
Support for older people
Call 0800 470 8090
Call 0800 1111
Info & advice for children & young people. 8am - midnight
Call 0808 80 23456 or text 84001
Wales and Drug and Alcohol Helpline (24 hour)
Call 0808 808 2234 or text DAN to 81066
Veterans' NHS Wales
Call 01792 532967 or e-mail SBU.email@example.com.
The current energy price crisis is set to hit people hard. The latest price cap increase means that 15 million households are facing a 12% rise in energy bills. Whilst customers are usually encouraged to shop around for good deals, there simply aren't any deals to be had. On top of this, Ofgem have warned of a further increase to the price cap next April.
If you have concerns about paying your energy bills, there is support available:
This week, my thoughts have been with the family and friends of Sarah Everard, as they watched her murderer receive a whole life sentence. I think about how afraid Sarah must have been. She was walking home.
My thoughts have also been with the family and friends of Sabina Nessa, as a man appeared in court accused of her murder. I think about the school children Sabina could have inspired over her teaching career. She was meeting a friend.
Today, I think about the front cover of Friday 1st October's Northern Echo, and the lives behind the photos:
I think about the advice given to women this week, to challenge lone male officers who approach them. Another piece of behaviour-altering advice to women who have already been told, for example, not to walk alone but if they have to, to walk busy routes in well lit areas, like Sarah Everard did.
Then I think about the future. I think about the women and girls who will go out this weekend - to the pub, to a friend's house, to the park, to the shop - and how they will feel about their safety. I think about the steps that need to be taken to prevent more names like Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa becoming part of our vernacular.
Back in July, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published an interim report which stated that fundamental system-wide change is needed in the Police to tackle the 'epidemic' of offending against women and girls. It recommended that the Government introduce a full-time national police lead for violence against women and girls , and that it should be given the same priority as terrorism. In their final report published in September, HMICFRS make 5 overarching recommendations:
I believe the report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary highlights the Government’s continued failure to protect women and girls adequately. I fully support all of the recommendations in this report. I also continue to support calls for a comprehensive Bill on violence against women and girls.
The safety of women and girls is essential to society. Thoughts, prayers and kind words are no longer enough. Advice on when not to go out, where not to go to or who not to talk to is no longer enough.
The UK Government need to prove that they are serious about this issue, and soon, by implementing the recommendations of the HMICFRS report in full. I don't want to write another tribute or light another candle.