Vodacom has joined the Department of Social Development in operating a gender-based violence Command Centre to support victims of abuse during the 21-day lockdown.
“For us at Vodacom, we view violence against women as a violation of human rights and the greatest impediment towards gender equality,” said Vodacom’s Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe.
Launched March 2014, the Command Centre receives 22,000 calls a month. Social workers are connected to victims through this service and either undertake tele-counselling from the Centre or, based on severity, are referred to the community-based social workers and the South African Police Service.
Experts believe that gender-based violence will increase during the lockdown, with South Africa’s standard numbers already at shocking levels.
“We’d like to appeal to South African men to become change agents and play an active role in ridding our society of gender violence. Gender-based violence requires men to stand up, call out, and address the violent and aggressive behaviour that many women face every day,” said Netshitenzhe.
Anyone needing support can contact the GBV Command Centre by dialling 0800 428 428 or via USSD on *120*7867#. A Skype line ‘HelpMeGBV’ is for members of the Deaf Community. An SMS-based line ‘31531’ will also assist people with disabilities (SMS Help to 31531).
Victims can also contact the South African Police Service dedicated lines on:
– GBV command centre: 0800 428 428 or *120*7867# (free)
– Urgent victim response line: 0800 150 150