News : Public Urged to Use Gender-Based Violence Call Centre
Johannesburg, South Africa, November, 2015 -- As the country today begins observing the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, the Minister for Social Development and Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Root Causes of Violence Against Women and Children, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, has called on South Africans to use the successful Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC).
"Government has invested a lot a resources in setting up this world-class call centre that our citizens can call to get help when faced with violence, whether at home or in schools. The GBVCC is not only a responsive mechanism but can also be a preventative measure for those who feel they might be in danger of being abused," says Minister Dlamini.
The 24-hour call centre dedicated to providing support and counselling to victims of gender based violence uses mobile technology to estimate the location of a victim, assign the closest social worker in the field to the case, and record and receive continuous feedback on the case.
When a caller contacts the GBVCC from a mobile phone, they are (with explicit permission) geographically located, enabling the Centre to determine the resources nearest to the caller, whether it be a social worker, a police station, a hospital or safe house. In this way, help is dispatched in quick fashion.
The toll free number to call to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.
Minister Dlamini has also raised concern about the increased media reports of violence and sexual offences taking place in schools.
"Recent media reports suggest that there is a prevalence of violent conduct in schools - including assault and rape targeting both boys and girls - perpetrated by learners against each other.
"This is indicative of the violent nature of our society because children who are abused at home tend to be perpetrators of abuse themselves. We urge parents to denounce violence and to find non-violent means for correcting children's behaviour at home," Minister Dlamini said.
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Schools are urged to familiarise learners with the workings of the GBVCC and encourage them to use it when necessary.
Other activities the IMC is undertaking to prevent and respond to gender-based violence as well as provide support to victims include the roll out of community based dialogues that promote and raise awareness on constructive cultural practices that are in line with good values, especially as these relate to gender relations.
The IMC, through the Department of Social Development, is also rolling out a parenting skills programme targeting parents raising teenagers as a way of strengthening families and promoting family life. Positive male role models are also used in communication campaigns to discourage young men from acts of gender-based violence.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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