24-hour call centre launched to assist with Gender-Based Violence

Call centre employees working on computers
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A 24-hour call centre to assist in Gender-Based Violence has been launched by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development in Pietermaritzburg.

The call centre is the first for the province.

It’s part of the drive by the department to intensify its efforts in the fight against gender-based violence. A rape survivor who spoke on condition of anonymity says her family did not believe her when she told them she was raped.

She says she did not report the crime to the police as she was scared of being harassed.

“I was robbed of my youth by a relative when I was 9 and was raped three more times when I was 16 and in my 20s and my family did not believe what they were told. My parents only know about one incident when I was 16 they don’t know that I was raped when I was 9 or the two rapes after. How could I tell them when they didn’t believe the teachers who came forward and told them that I was raped by a teacher? Back then it was not easy as it is for children today to tell their parents because for starters our parents weren’t educated and secondly they believed that it should be kept in the family.”

KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi says the facility will have social workers and it will operate 24-hours a day.

Thusi says the new system is linked to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Emergency medical and rescue services.

“This means that a person who finds themselves in a vulnerable position will no longer need airtime to get assistance nor will she need to make multiple calls. We’re currently working on introducing Skype for people with disabilities, GEO Location and please call me options. Our Call centre social workers will soon be trained in sign language so that they can be able to communicate with people with disabilities.”

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