FEATURE – TECH IMPACT: New WhatsApp-based chatbot ‘Chomi’ aims to curb GBV

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SABC News’ Tshepiso Moche reports on related tech developments in South Africa and globally. In this edition, he looks at the newly launched GBV WhatsApp-based chatbot service, ‘Chomi’.

Shout-It-Now has launched ‘Chomi,’ a WhatsApp-based chatbot service that aims to provide survivors of gender-based violence with advice and information sourced from experts.

‘Chomi’ is designed to give GBV survivors immediate services at the most critical time.

The launch of the app comes on the back of earlier crime statistics, which have revealed the brutality and violence women and children are exposed to in South Africa on a daily basis.

Between July and September, 10 590 rape cases were opened with the SAPS, between July and September 2022.

With WhatsApp readily available, this function was designed in a multilingual format so survivors of GBV can use it in the comfort of their own space.

The chatbot is currently available in English and isiZulu. However, to make it more accessible, Setswana and isiXhosa support will be added soon.

Sexual offenses increased by 11% in recent crime statistics. Meanwhile, 13 000 women were assaulted with the intent to cause serious bodily harm while 10 000 cases of rape were reported.

To access the chatbot service, you simply need to save the number ‘082 229 6251‘ into your phone to access the service and type Hi to start the chat.

The chatbot offers conversational help to users through the below options:

  • Emergency assistance
  • Counselling support
  • Safety planning
  • Women’s shelters
  • GBV information and FAQs
  • Connect to support services
  • What to do if I have been raped
  • Reporting violence
  • Legal assistance

The video below, is the quarterly statistics reflecting crimes reported from July to September: