Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON
LEADING figures in Welsh life have united to mark White Ribbon Day and challenge people not to ignore violence in their homes and communities.
The number of women in the UK who are victims of violence each year is the equivalent of the population of Wales, and campaigners will today call for men to stamp out this scandal.
Last year 48,738 domestic incidents and five homicides were recorded across Wales. There were 14,528 calls to the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline, and 1,975 people entered Welsh refuges.
Labour peer Baroness Gale said: "Up to three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriages, stalking, sexual exploitation and trafficking, female genital mutilation or so-called honour violence each year."
Baroness Gale acknowledged a new push to end violence against women and girls would involve investment, and said: "Any measures such as these cost money, but the cost of violence against woman and girls is extremely expensive both in financial and emotional terms."
The White Ribbon Campaign is asking men to pledge "never to commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women."
Baroness Gale said: "The Westminster Government, and the devolved governments working together with all charities and organisations in this field, should be able to bring about a change in attitude toward women and girls.
"If the will and determination is there we could see a fairer, more equal society, one where the threat of violence against women and girls is removed once and for all."
Conservative Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan put her support behind the Welsh Rugby Union-endorsed campaign, saying: "It is a symbol of hope and strength not only of the survivors of domestic violence but also of the strength we have as a community, in not condoning or staying silent about domestic violence. …