Getting help for gender-based violence during lockdown

During this lockdown, the number of reported cases of violence and abuse have increased significantly. Since people are spending more time at home, women and children have become more vulnerable to abuse and violence from relatives and other perpetrators in the community. How can you get help if you or a loved one are in this situation? Here’s some advice.

A safety plan

Making it out of this situation will require a little bit of planning, especially if the abusive person is someone you live with at home, like a parent, guardian or partner. It helps to do your research on numbers/helplines you can call, as well as shelters or any other places you can go to for safety – for example, a friend or family member’s house. 

Try to ask for support from people you trust by letting them know about the situation and speaking to them about possible solutions. If you are using your phone to communicate with them, you might need to delete any messages and come up with safe words, in case you need help immediately.

Emergency contact details

Here’s a list of emergency contact numbers that you can keep on your phone and contact if you need assistance.

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre – Call 0800 428 428 (toll-free line) or dial *120*7867# for a call back if you or someone you know is a victim of abuse.

Urgent victim response WhatsApp line – SMS the word ‘Brave’ to 0800 150 150 for help.

The Triangle Project – This initiative offers support to victims of gender-based violence in the LGBTQI community. You can contact them by calling 066 076 8845 or 021 422 0255.

MOSAIC – This organization helps victims of abuse by offering counselling over the phone and referring them to safe places where they can get further assistance. You can contact them on the number 021 761 7585, between 08:30 and 16:00.

Rape Crisis Helpline – This is a 24-hour helpline that offers rape victims access to Thuthuzela Care Centres for medical and forensic assistance. You can contact them by calling 021 447 9762 or by sending ‘Hi’ via WhatsApp to 083 222 5164.

National Shelter Movement South Africa – You can get help if you need a safe place away from home from this organisation. They offer assistance in different provinces.

Western Cape: 082 903 8739 or 071 906 3949

Mpumalanga: 079 310 9633

KwaZulu-Natal: 072 446 3337

Free State: 072 144 7171

Eastern Cape: 081 247 6056

North West: 072 348 6526

Northern Cape: 080 021 2321 or 073 888 8738

Gauteng: 083 684 7737 or 083 289 9818

While this is a difficult time for the whole country, there is help for victims of abuse, wherever they are. Remember that I’m also here if you need someone to speak to or help getting out of an abusive situation.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).