In light of the recent horrific violence against women, now is as good time as ever to realise the need in South Africa for women to have a safe space to talk about the violence they are faced with. Intimate partner violence is one of the many types of violence against women, with one in four women being victims of abuse. So says Penny Appeal South Africa, as it teamed up with the Ihata Shelter in Cape Town to launch a national hotline for victims of violence on Thursday.
The hotline will provide a safe space for abuse victims to share their story and get support and assistance from trained staff at Ihata. The line will be open to all who have suffered abuse although the core focus will be placed on women and children; as they encompass the majority of abuse victims.
“We want to help, support and listen but also do correct referrals. Women are being given wrong advice, turned away and they don’t know where to turn. This makes them lose hope and they end up raped, murdered or continually violated,” said Ihata founder Nuraan Osman.
The line will be available to anyone who needs to talk about their situations or if they would like assistance in reporting it to the police or finding a shelter.
“We will have trained professionals with trauma councillors on hand attending to the calls,” said Faizel Porter, operations manager at Ihata.
“Sometimes victims just want a non-judgemental ear to listen to their experiences, we will provide that and also have councillors on board who can assist if they need advice.”
One of the core partners is the SAPS Manenberg Victim Empowerment unit where victims can be assisted with reporting the crimes committed against them.
Penny Appeal will be fundraising to ensure the long term sustainability of the hotline. Penny Appeal has been made aware of the struggles that victims face.
“We are finding our attention drawn to gender-based violence or crimes toward children,” said Shahnaaz Paruk, CEO of Penny Appeal South Africa.
“Penny Appeal is committed to advocating and intervening in a safer society for females and children as well as vulnerable groups. We take safeguarding of such people seriously, and bear their safety at the forefront of our projects. We hope that in time this initiative will provide platforms for greater intervention and action in making our country safer,” Paruk explained.
The toll-free number is 0800 44 44 42 .