07/05/2014 The Wales Report


Huw Edwards looks at issues in Wales. Are victims of domestic violence in Wales being denied access to justice? And is the Welsh education system fit for the digital world?

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Tonight on the Wales Report: Are victims of domestic violence in


Wales being deprived of justice because of changes to legal aid?


In a digital age, is our education failing to equip children with the


vital skills they need? And why are thousands of people


suffering from dementia fighting for the right diagnosis? Stay with us


for the Wales Report. Good evening, welcome to the Wales


Report. Our chance to look at the issues making an impact on lives in


Wales and question some of those making the decisions. On tonight's


programme: We start with the tens of thousands of people who are victims


of domestic abuse every year in Wales. But a Welsh charity is


warning that their plight could be made worse following changes to the


legal aid system by the UK Government. Welsh Women's Aid is


concerned many victims are now unable to access legal support as a


result of government reforms and, as The Wales Report has discovered,


many solicitors now don't even offer legal aid services. Mariclare Carey


Jones reports now on how this is leaving some victims in vulnerable


situations without access to the justice system.


It is the one place people should feel safe, their own homes. But more


than 50,000 women experience domestic abuse every year in Wales.


For one woman from Carmarthenshire who wants to remain anonymous, that


took the form of verbal and physical abuse I had 21-year-old son. He


wanted money from us and we said no. He got aggressive and he


pensioned me four times in the side of my head. She wants to take out a


non-molestation order to stop person coming near her or her family but


she can't afford the legal fees. Because of changes made to the legal


aid system she is finding it virtually impossible to access


financial help to pay for a solicitor. We have been able to


access legal aid in the past but now the changes have come in and we


haven't been able to access legal aid. We actually are in danger of


other lives. Do you think you have been done by the system? We do feel


we have been let down. There is no protection there for us. Financial


cuts were made to the legal aid system and for victims of domestic


violence evidence criteria was brought in. As a result, victims may


now have to see their GP to ask for a letter saying they have received


treatment following an attack. They may have to go to the police to


obtain proof that has been an injunction against Derek -- alleged


abuser. Victims, even though they may be vulnerable state, now have to


prove they have a case before they can even qualify for legal aid. The


aim of making changes the legal aid system was to reduce the annual


justice bill in Wales and in England by ?350 million. The government


promised victims of domestic abuse they were still have access to


funds. We have been given figures by the charity Welsh women's aid which


shows half of the women they serve eight have been unable to access


help in the family courts since the changes have been made last April.


It is a scary situation because to put a woman of accessing this help


and advice is a really serious issue for her safety. Seven women a year


die as a result of domestic abuse. It is life or death. According to


the charity, victims are finding it hard because getting copies of the


information they need can be difficult, time-consuming and


costly. Their survey of more than 100 women shows two thirds of


victims don't have the right evidence and of those, nearly 80%


don't know who to speak to to get it. Because of the nature of


domestic abuse in tears women were reports for various reasons, for


safety. That made it difficult for many women to prove. I you OK to


talk now? As a result of campaigning by groups like Women's Aid, some


changes were introduced the legislation last month. The


government has widened the types of evidence that are admissible. There


are claims they don't go far enough. The system still needs


clarification. It is such a complicated situation, there are so


many factors involved, it is different for everyone. It is


something we don't want to overcomplicate. We needed as good as


we can so people can be safe. Obtaining evidence isn't the only


barrier to financial support. Even if victims do qualify for legal aid


they often have trouble finding a solicitor offering it. That is


because the fees. It is have been cut in the justice reforms so many


firms no longer want to take these cases as they can make more money


doing private work. The Wales reporter contacted 20 solicitors


firms from across Wales to see if they offered legal aid and a quarter


of them told as they used to but stopped when the changes came in


because they brought in to much bureaucracy for too little money. As


a result we are told more victims are being forced to stand up in


court to represent themselves. A stressful situation for people


already feeling vulnerable. For a woman to represent herself in court


that may mean she's coming face-to-face with her user. He might


cross examiner. It is a renewed suffering for her to have to go


through that course of control and emotional abuse again. That is a


real concern for Elfyn Llwyd who sits on the Justice Committee at


Westminster. He is one of several members have been raising concerns


with the government since the changes to legal aid were still in


the planning stages. People who are experts in the field told this time


and time again when we were looking at the pre-legislative scrutiny


stage of the bill this would happen. It is now happening, we need to


address it and report the government to get them to look at it swiftly


and properly. It is feared that unless that happens, more women in


Wales will be left isolated and in danger. We are very vulnerable. It


is a basic human rights that we should be protected in our own home.


Mariclare Carey Jones reporting there. We asked Shailesh Vara, the


UK Government minister responsible for legal aid, to appear but he


declined. But the Ministry of Justice did tell us they've: they


went on to say if that is evidence that people are suffering from


domestic violence and not getting legal aid, they want to know about


it. That is the statements. Joining me now is Sian James, Labour MP for


Swansea East and former director of Welsh Women's Aid. Can we establish


one principle in terms of financing. Should legally be immune from


spending cuts? I don't think anything should be immune from


spending cuts. We have to look at costs, that is good housekeeping. We


looked at this issue when we were in government, the Labour government,


but I think when we have issues of safety and your piece to camera did


show issues to women but I am concerned about the issues of


children's safety as well. We will come onto those issues let me deal


quickly with the finance, do you think this ?2 billion bill for legal


aid, which currently exists, is an acceptable one. If it needs to come


down we can discuss where those cuts should be. A ?2 billion bill which


is very high should that be affected? I am glad I am not the


person less to decide on that. We need to make savings. If that is an


issue of peoples personal safety and security, I think we have to look --


think twice whether that is the place where we need to save money.


That is not dodging the issue. No life is worth risking any amount of


money for. Unfortunately, seven women a year do die and in the


circumstances where they are in an abusive relationship and they don't


get the support and help they need. What price can be put on that? When


you look at the new system and the charm that fact women have two give


certain elements of proof, referral from social services, they have


added to the list in the past month because they realised some of the


criteria was not sufficient. Ultimately, it is right that women


of whoever that is affected should have to provide proof of it or do


you think in some cases the proof isn't able to be offered? What used


to be in the past, 20 solicitor,, you got advice and the solicitor


informed you what evidence you needed. He collated that information


for you. That is part of the service you were accessing. Now, if you


can't access that solicitor not just because of cost, the figures show


that about 33% of women have two travel between five to 15 miles away


to find a solicitor that is offering legal aid. In Swansea East, my


constituency, we don't have one solicitor that offers that service


within my constituency. People love to travel into the next


constituency. -- people have two travel. What if you were actually in


Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire or mid Wales ) is a bigger challenge.


What would you like to see happening? We know that lots of


barristers and lawyers have been very unhappy with the cuts to legal


aid and they have been staging industrial action which is something


we have not been happening in that form before. What would you like to


be seen happening now? What we do know is it is not working. What we


need to be thinking about is that if a woman and her children need help,


need support and needs access services that will help ensure their


safety and the safety of their children, you shouldn't be recruited


that precluded because you can't afford them or access them. -- you


shouldn't be precluded because you can't afford them or access them. I


will be campaigning. It is a matter for the future Labour government to


look at. It is something I have been engaged in very heavily with the


current government. Ever carry on making representations on this


because I see the difference it is making to families in my


constituents, the lack of access, the expense of trying to axe is the


services and the danger, the knock-on effect it has on women and


children where these matters are resolved. Thanks for coming in


again. The extent to which our lives now


depend on technology and digital skills is increasingly clear. There


are countless government initiatives to boost digital skills and to


encourage innovation. But is our education system doing its bit? Are


schools equipping pupils with the skills they need to succeed in a


digital world? Dr Tom Crick, a leading computer scientist from


Cardiff Metropolitan University, believes children in Wales aren't


learning the specialist IT skills needed to thrive in this sector or


being taught how to utilise ground-breaking technology that's


being made right here in Wales. It is a great success story in


Wales. It is great to say made in Wales. You need to learn how to do


stuff with it so if you put it in the hands of a child, you can open


your eyes into a computing entails and the possibilities of things you


can do with programming and creativity and the broader ecosystem


of Electronics and making devices do interesting things. Learning how to


programme should be viewed as modern literacy. The future economy of


Wales is based on having the skills, workforce to attract the high-value


industry. My concern from an educational perspective for Wales is


perhaps we have missed a trick on little bit. There has been an


accepted the ICT curriculum has not been fit for purpose for what we


need now. We need to focus on things like programming, developing skills


from early age, as well as aspects of competition of thinking and


science. If this is in bedded in at primary school age, you do


programming along with mathematics and the sciences, as you start to


get through the key stages and when you start secondary it'll be normal.


We have seen significant reform and change in England and Scotland and


we know England has a new computing subject which is going to replace


ICT. We are in the curriculum review of Wales. We're not going to have


any significant change until September 2015. If we don't have a


reform of the curriculum now and changing the broader perception of


computing and technology and how important it is across all economic


sectors, this could be a big problem for the future of Wales. That was


Doctor Tom Crick there. Well, joining me now is David Jones,


founder of software development company TigerBay and a member of the


Welsh Government's information technology panel.


When you look at the complex area that you work in and the complicated


range of skills and talents needed to feed this injury -- institution


of yours, are they any good place in Wales? The fundamental issue is the


pace of change and the type of things we are doing now we were not


doing five years ago. A few days ago Wales was able to attract a


significantly better investor from the US. 150 jobs, ?40,000 the


average salary. That industry did not exist a few years ago. What we


must see from the perspective of the industry is greater peace of


development from the education system. We also need volume but also


pace. We are struggling to see that. I will come to pace in a moment and


sugar content because it is not just the speed of what is being offered


and developed, the content is important as well. We heard it was


not fit for purpose, let us start with the content, what is it not


delivering, what are schools and colleges not delivering in terms of


knowledge? These skills that we have looked at, it has been shown that in


Wales we need an additional 3000 skilled programmers each year at


least for the next three years and then it will continue to grow. There


is currently a big shortfall based on the growth we expect to see. That


falls into two different areas. Many people will work on my industry and


it will be programmers and we have to have better people coming out of


university able to be programmers but we also need to see and Tom


refers to it, greater digital literacy in areas outside of this


industry. How young an age should that begin at? And the Rhondda


Valley, they are teaching a new programme line which called Scratch


for very young children. What we need children to understand is that


the complex machinery surrounding all of us and our working lives can


be controlled. It is that complexity that goes to the heart of


computing. U2 is not too young to begin doing these things. Across


Wales and A year to, how common is that? -- year two.


It is patchy at the moment. Given that Michael Gove has


announced in England he is pushing forward with changes to the ICT


curriculum, those changes are coming, they have been mapped out,


we are not in that position in Wales, why are slower? I think that


the view of the government is that they want to take more time. Tom


Crick has written a very good piece of work with colleagues that is


available publicly but at the moment the government is reviewing that. It


is easy if you are Michael Gove to assume that the problem is almost


finished now. But I think Churchill said it is not the end, it is the


beginning, and I think that Michael Gove will find that come September


not all of the schools will be ready yet. He has sent a message out to


industry, however. That message is very clear. You have said that not


every school will be ready, but they are more advanced than we are here


and I am wondering if you think there will be any suggestion that


the Welsh Government is dragging its feet or other reasons, valid reasons


for taking our time? It will be shown to be valid if we can build


more sustainable machines that can take into consideration this deal is


that we are talking about. Michael Gault initially talked about


complacency and in Tom's report he talks about things that must move


faster and that the concern of industry, unless move quickly you


are destroyed and we want to see more of that coming out of the


education system. Thank you for joining us, David.


More than 45,000 people across Wales are grappling with the challenge of


living with dementia. But as many as two thirds of dementia sufferers are


also fighting to be officially diagnosed. Wales has the worst rates


of diagnosis compared to England and Northern Ireland, meaning many


sufferers are unable to access treatment and support when they need


it most. In a moment we'll discuss what is being done to tackle this,


but first, one couple share their first-hand experience of dementia


and the consequences of waiting for a diagnosis.


We have been living under this code for around ten years, I suppose, it


was my wife who called me ten years ago that she was not feeling very


well and she may have had a small stroke. It was three years later


before we had the final diagnosis that she had an unusual feeling of


Alzheimer's. Her site has gone. She has no spatial awareness at all and


her hands cannot grip anything. Food becomes a problem. She has lost the


ability to read and write. She has not left with very much, I am


afraid. Meanwhile, the memory, well stated that the -- whilst that did


not seem too bad to begin with, she has began to deteriorate. It is sad


to see the way that she is totally dependent on me and the carers who


looked after her. She has a shadow of her former sense. You see


glimpses of the old iron but they are getting less and less. You do


not know what is coming from day to day and that is what makes it


difficult for families, not just for me but for the children,


grandchildren and all of her friends.


That was the experience of Alan and Anne Cummings of Cardiff. The chair


of the Welsh Assembly's cross-party group Eluned Parrott joins me along


with Professor Antony Bayer. Can I begin by asking you about the rates


of diagnoses. What is your view on that and why is it happening? In


many parts of Wales only around one third of people with dementia are


receiving a diagnosis at all let alone barely enough for them to be


able to plan and manage the care of themselves in a positive and


proactive environment. We must think about how have the Northern Ireland


Assembly government been able to transform their diagnosis rates and


get up to 69% diagnosis as opposed to 69% undiagnosed. Do you know why


that is the case? They put together a strategy to target belly diagnosis


so they watch the stigma surrounding dementia because obviously it is a


very frightening diagnosis to have, but we need people to feel that it


is something they can speak to their doctor about because it is something


that they want to discuss with family and friends.


What is your view about that, Professor Antony Bayer, and the


benefits of it? One of the problems is that there is a general view that


the diagnosis is not always worth making because you cannot do much


about it, we must firstly challenge that because the diagnosis can be


made and then there are lots of positive things that can be done. In


most cases the condition Redditch United but that would not mean that


you cannot manage it well and it is certainly managing the condition


over the years that helps not just the person with dementia but makes


life easier for the family who have the burden of caring. What is the


incentive for someone to come forward, for example, the relative


with problems as they take the clear view that no matter what people's


good intentions and they even get sympathy or care, actually it is a


journey that they know well end in something very, very sad. They do


not want to go there and told they have to. Planning ahead puts you in


charge if you know what the cause of the problem is and it means that you


know the right way to actually address particular problems and you


can actually heard of many problems through planning. It gives you


access to drugs treatment which are not true that this but can help


major symptoms of many cases of dementia. It can help slow the


progression of dementia. There is a long list of positive benefits from


every diagnosis. What would you like to see the Welsh Government do as a


matter of urgency when you see the kind of projected growth rate and


people suffering from various forms of dementia, what could the Welsh


Government do that it is not doing at the moment within the financial


constraints that exists? I want to see that strategic approach to


diagnosis, a focused effort to get the diagnosis rate up here in Wales.


We know that in Cardiff, half of those with a dimension have been


able to get a cis. We have to look at capacity on memory clinics but


also the communication effort to get people to engage with their GP and


discussed this matter. You mentioned Cardiff, but there are other health


boards that are not doing as well. That is correct, some areas only


have one third of diagnosis rates. That means they are far too many


people living without the knowledge and support and the treatment that


they need to help manage their condition positively. We have to


face it, we have to help people and I think that is one of the most


important challenges. What would you like to government to do? I would


like them to give it a higher profile, there is a resource


implication because if we are seeing that we need to diagnose many


thousands of people who presently do not know what the cause of their


problems is, someone is going to have to do that and pay for that, so


there is a resource implication. On the other thing is that the


diagnosis should lead to something, so just making it and raising this


is the sticks, rubber-stamping someone with the correct label and


leaving them to it is a completely pointless exercise. Finally, the


viewers won't want to ask this question in terms of silence. What


is the latest advice in terms of lifestyle things you should consider


that will lessen your risk of developing dementia. Also as this


getting to the stage where we may have potential cures and the future?


Wales can be proud that it is leading the research and


2-dimensional, it has world-renowned experts North Wales and Bangor and


the south of Cardiff. Many of the things that we are familiar with in


terms of reducing heart disease and stroke disease, it can reduce the


risk of dementia, so what is good for the heart is good for the brain


and perhaps things like stopping smoking, more exercise, alcohol in


moderation, a healthy diet, all those things have been shown by


research in Wales to actually reduce the risk of dimensional. -- the


mention. -- dementia. That is the kind of things we can do to stop


developing a rest of the illness. Thank you both for joining me.


That's it for tonight's programme. We'll be back next week with a


special debate ahead of the European elections. In the meantime, you can


get in touch with us: Email us at: [email protected] and you can


also join in the debate on twitter: @TheWalesReport.


Thanks for watching. Good night. Nos da.


Huw Edwards presents a current affairs series taking a look at issues that matter in Wales and holds decision-makers to account. Are victims of domestic violence in Wales being denied access to justice? And is the Welsh education system fit for the digital world?

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