I am on a short recess this week, but not before a full day in Parliament last Thursday with debates and events to commemorate ‘One Billion Rising’ – a day of action to draw attention to the issue of violence against women across the world.
Some of the dancing and ‘flash mob’ scenes were perhaps a little contrived and, having just returned from Afghanistan where education for girls is still a privilege and forced marriages and domestic violence are still endemic across the country, it does seem that we have it good in the UK.
Sadly, the reality is not so rosy – the
We still have much to do which is why I am pleased that this government has made this area such a focus.
Since the election funding for domestic violence support centres (such as our own excellent one in Devizes) has been put on a sustainable footing; forced marriage has been outlawed; new zero tolerance approaches to domestic violence have been trialled in Wiltshire and other areas and a new stalking law, and ‘right of disclosure’ about a partner’s past introduced.
My contribution to the debates focused on the internet and the impact of exposing children to inappropriate content on websites or in peer-to-peer generated images. The good news is that government, industry, schools and parents are finally taking the problem seriously and we are making progress on content filters and better education – and if the some of the press want to call me ‘Mary Whitehouse 2.0’ for focusing on this problem, then so be it!
I’ve also been very focused on local heathcare since my election and have worked for the last three years with other local campaigners to highlight the negative impact that resulted from closing all of the minor injury units in this constituency in 2007.
We were thrilled this week when the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said that in response to our campaigning they are committed to providing community-based minor injury care throughout Wiltshire.
A review of urgent care across Wiltshire is now under way and this includes work with GP practices, Great Western Hospital, Wiltshire Council and Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership. With efforts from Great Western to put more services back into Savernake Hospital, might a new age of locally focused healthcare be dawning?