Harare, Zimbabwe, July 13, 2021 -- Zimbabweans are now reaping benefits from the recently established national call centre — the 575 hotline for survivors and victims of sexual and gender-based violence — with stakeholders giving First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa the thumbs up for her vision.
The helpline is a brainchild of Amai Mnangagwa and is also housed at her offices.
Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni described the establishment of the toll-free number as a milestone in the fight against inhuman acts perpetrated by mostly men towards defenceless women and girls.
This comes as the Permanent Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga has described the move as a reflection of the mother of the nation’s passion for all children.
Minister Nyoni said the national call centre came at a time when there were increased numbers of GBV cases across the country due to national lockdown measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
"This innovative and historic hotline, 575, is meant for reporting cases of gender based violence in both rural and urban areas in Zimbabwe. This should be done despite the status, social position or gender of the perpetrator.
"This platform is significant as it is aiding the realisation of one of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) target, of increasing care and protection of vulnerable groups.
"This important initiative is critical for GBV prevention, protection of survivors, enabling participation by the nation at large and improve programming aimed at addressing violence against women and girls.
"This is an act of ingenuity and expression of motherly love for human life and we thank the First Lady for launching the hotline," she said.
The hotline, Minister Nyoni said, offered safe and confidential reporting and urged the nation to report any cases of GBV through the number.
"My ministry, through its provincial and district structures will ensure that all reported cases are recorded and shared with relevant partners to help the victims so as to save lives. Due diligence will be made to ensure that the whistle-blowers and victims of GBV are protected and treated with dignity.
"To complement this service, the ministry has already established seven one-stop-centres. Mobile one-stop-centres and shelters have also been established for provision of services for hard to reach areas. Partnerships with civil society and development partners have been established to upscale the provision of services to survivors of GBV."
Minister Nyoni said her ministry had developed policy documents including establishing referral pathways to guide survivors and stakeholders on interventions and services available for the reported cases.
Mr Masanga said the hotline, 575, was also meant for reporting cases of child abuse and violence in both rural and urban areas in Zimbabwe and came at a time when there was increased need for intensifying identification of child abuse and sexual violence cases given the limitations that Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have brought.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, July 15, 2021
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