Assistance for abused women

2017-02-01 06:02

WITH 16 Days of Activism still fresh in the mind of the public, Turning Point Amanzimtoti’s Loraine­ Odendaal reiterated that victims of abuse need support all year long.

The public is called upon to support abuse victims by referring them to Turning Point and assisting them to put a personalised safety plan in place.

“A safety plan helps victims to identify action steps that they should take to increase their family’s safety against domestic violence and should be hidden away from the abuser,” Odendaal said.

A safety plan should contain vital information such as emergency contact numbers for organisations like Turning Point, the local police station and ambulance services.

Secondly, the victim should have an escape plan if sharing a residence with the abuser. Prepare an escape bag that has all the items you will need when leaving the residence such as a new set of clothes, identification book or driver’s licence, refugee or work permit, certified copy of a protection order or court order, medication and medical record, medical aid or clinic cards, birth and marriage certificates and insurance contracts.

It is also recommended to have a set of duplicate keys for the house, transport fees, bank cards, old age pension or disability grant cards, an alternative phone Sim card and an address book with phone number for an emergency.

For the children, pack uniforms, books, report cards, toys, essential clothing, birth or adoption certificates and medical records.

Victims should decide on a secret code such as “CP” which means call the police to indicate they need immediate help that they can SMS to their rescue persons. There is also a need to identify quick and safe escape routes from places where violence usually occur.

“Practice how you would safely reach the low risk area without your abuser knowing,” Odendaal advised.

She reminded women that the law allows them to obtain a protection order and to obtain information from a prosecutor, clerk of the court from the domestic violence division, police, social workers, counsellors, traditional leaders or any other relevant service provider.

“Victims must know where and how to obtain a protection order, and also when and how it will protect them. The law demands that victims must receive this information in a language that they understand,” Odendaal said.

To get a copy of a full safety plan or for assistance with abuse, contact Turning Point Amanzimtoti on 031 903 7777.

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