The Department of Social Development yesterday launched the Control Centre on Gender- Based Violence (GBV) in partnership with Vodacom and the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The 24-hour call centre is dedicated to provide support and counselling.
The six-month pilot phase was launched in Pretoria yesterday and focuses on specific areas in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. These areas include Hillbrow, Sunnyside, Moroka, Akasia and Alexandra in Gauteng and Edendale and Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal.
“People from all over the country can phone the helpline. If it is an emergency it will be directed to the nearest police station and if you are in one of the areas we will be able to give support on the phone and direct you to a shelter or non-profit organisation in your area for long-term help,” Bathembo Futhsane from the department said.
In the case of a non-emergency, victims outside the specific areas will be directed to a local social worker’s office. Director-general of the department, Coceko Pakade, said domestic violence statistics in South Africa are alarming.
“Nationally over 71% of women are sexually abused and a woman is raped every 26 seconds,” he said.
He added that the helpline was not only for women.
“Men facing any type of gender-based abuse can also phone the helpline.”