Protecting victims of domestic abuse, household bubbles in Wales, Happy Birthday to our NHS! -Weekly update 04/07/2020
We’ve had a win this week with the UK Government’s pledge to overhaul the family courts in order to better protect domestic abuse victims and their families. I have been supporting the #EndThisInjustice campaign for over a year alongside activists Rachel Williams and Sammy Woodhouse, and fellow Labour MPs, Jess Phillips, Carolyn Harris, Louise Haigh and Keir Starmer. There are far too many outdated views on domestic abuse within the courts which compound the suffering and injustice faced by too many families. I’ll now be watching carefully to make sure Ministers take the action they have pledged to change this.
I also called on colleagues this week to join the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA), a growing network of large and small businesses who work to enable employers to take action on domestic abuse – to raise awareness, to support those facing abuse, and to provide access to services to help perpetrators to stop. Our lives have changed beyond recognition over the last few months, and while I know some have found that a change in pace and more flexible working has brought benefits, for those facing domestic abuse, it has had terrifying consequences. Many have felt trapped at home with an abuser and with no way out. Work is such a big part of all our lives and the role employers can play in supporting employees to find help cannot be underestimated. You can read more about the EIDA and the work that they do here.
The Welsh Government have announced that from Monday, two households will be able to join together to form a ‘bubble’ and meet indoors. This will enable families to reunite and spend more time together, something that I’m sure everyone has been looking forward to over the past few months. It will also help working families with childcare arrangements and allow greater flexibility for people to get back to work. The two households must remain the same for the foreseeable future, however, and should one member display symptoms of the virus, both households will need to self-isolate. Monday will also see the lifting of the ‘five mile’ rule, meaning Welsh citizens can travel further afield to see friends and family. With these changes being made, it's even more important that we stick to the social distancing guidance to keep the spread of Coronavirus down - we’ve worked so hard to look after each other and we cannot sacrifice the progress we have made.
On Tuesday, during FCO questions in the Commons, I asked Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly about the UK Government’s current sanctions against Israel for their plan to illegally annex the West Bank. These clearly are not working. Strong words are not enough for the Palestinian people - they need strong actions. The Minister said that the Government was maintaining a dialogue with Israel and attempting to persuade them from this course of action. The vast majority of the international community considers the Israeli settlements within the West Bank and the Israeli intentions to extend its sovereignty over the region as illegal under international law and the UK must stand firm in asserting the rights of the Palestinian people.
I want to say a huge thank you to Google, the Federation of Small Businesses, and all the Gower businesses who attended the Digital Marketing Webinar on Friday last week. Rebecca Evans MS and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from you all and there were plenty of tips for operating businesses in this new and strange world! It’s been heartening to see the innovation that has happened in Gower and how businesses have rallied round to continue operating during this crisis. I am cautiously optimistic for the future of the amazing place we call home.
This weekend is the 72nd birthday of our wonderful NHS. On Sunday, 5th July at 5pm, I will join with everyone around the country as we celebrate and thank all the marvellous people who make up the NHS workforce. From the doctors and nurses, to the porters and cleaners, you have worked so hard and with such dedication during this crisis and we all owe you so much. It’s fantastic to see the support that has been shown to our brave men and women on the frontline of this crisis and I hope that our gratitude and appreciation for what a remarkable institution the NHS is long outlives this pandemic. Thank you all.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well, and remember – keep washing your hands!