A domestic abuse survivor who was shot by her estranged husband at her hairdressing business is to speak at a Cardiff housing conference in the hope of helping others experiencing abuse.
Rachel Williams, who is now a campaigner and ambassador for Welsh Women’s Aid, will attend the TAI conference in the city’s SWALEC Stadium on Wednesday with the aim of preventing future domestic abuse cases. Rachel has been invited to speak at the event by software experts Locality Solutions, to highlight the importance of sharing information through technology.
Rachel has spoken of experiencing 18 years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband Darren, who shot her at her Newport salon in 2011 following the breakup of their marriage. Mr Williams was later found dead and their son Jack took his own life just six weeks later.
Since then, Rachel has become an advocate for Trouble With An Ex, a campaign run by the Network for Surviving Stalking charity and Gwent Police which aims to educate potential victims and their families about identifying stalking behaviour and how to get suitable help. Rachel also supports other campaigns including This is Abuse, which strives to increase teenagers’ understanding of domestic abuse by helping them recognise the signs of an unhealthy relationship and build awareness of key issues.
Rachel also believes that others would benefit from the Drive campaign, which gives those who appear as a high risk to their partners the opportunity for one-to-one support sessions in order to change their behaviour. Rachel says :
“I am no longer a victim, but a victor; my mess is now my message. I am pushing for change and I am determined that it is something I will see in my lifetime.”
Following Mr Williams’ death, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) stated that the shooting could have been prevented if there had been better communication between officers.
Technology the Intervention
As a result, Rachel believes advances in technology are pivotal in preventing and supporting future cases. She adds:
“I encourage services to interact more with victims and survivors of domestic violence and also share information, because vital information becomes lost and we need more intervention.”
“With reports claiming that two women every week are killed as a result of domestic abuse, there is an urgent need for improved information sharing. Technology has a significant part to play in the fight against domestic abuse and clever software can help organisations and those experiencing abuse to share information and effectively build safer and more cohesive communities.”
Locality Solutions product director Karen Boparoy
Domestic Abuse & Housing
The annual TAI conference is an opportunity for decision makers within housing from across Wales to discuss policy. It takes place from 26th until the 28th April, with a focus this year on key agenda items for housing during the next governmental term.