Violence against women and girls in South Africa is at staggering levels. A woman is murdered every four hours, and up to 40% of South African women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
This epidemic is alarming and cannot be ignored.
Gender-based violence impacts women’s physical and mental health, increasing the risk of chronic illness, depression, HIV/AIDS, and substance abuse. This contributes to health costs, absenteeism from school and work, decreased productivity, and lost income which keep women trapped in the cycle of poverty.
That’s why Vodacom, in partnership with the South African Department of Social Development, supports the vital initiative of a Gender-Based Violence Call Centre, by providing a 24-hour emergency lifeline, counselling services, and immediate assistance to victims of violence. The Command Centre also uses mobile technology to identify 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.
Yet, women across the country are unaware of this critical service.
The number of calls to the call centre has more than halved over the last year due to insufficient awareness in the country.
Local media houses can play a key role in informing South Africans about this national hotline (0800 428 428) so that all victims of gender-based violence are educated about the available resources and support they can access.