Members of the Strandfontein Community Policing Forum (CPF) have stood up to support victims of abuse.Officially launched on Saturday 14 October, the #BeBoldForChange network and support for victims of domestic violence will focus on establishing an after-care approach to victims of violence.“We want to establish a platform for women and men who are victims so that we can help and empower them and continue to provide support to victims by creating awareness and lobbying against gender-based violence,” says Sandy Schuter, Strandfontein CPF chairperson.She says she hopes to see it expand by reaching victims who were too afraid to come forward.“#BeBoldForChange was started because I have seen to many victims fall back into the very same situation that drove them to apply for interdicts but too afraid to use them, because of a lack of ongoing support and empowerment and absolutely no after-care structure,” says Schuter.“There are too many broken homes which lead to a broken community.”At the launch, a guest speaker of the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse defined the different types of abuse and the process of applying for an interdict.A representative of the Strandfontein victim support unit also spoke about the free service for victims of crime at Strandfontein Police Station.The CPF will spearhead the campaign and ongoing support network.“Domestic violence is real, the abuse that victims face is real and we as a community are responsible to report any abuse against anyone to the police, but the community also needs to get more involved by joining us to create more awareness against gender-based violence,” says Pat Hugo of the Strandfontein CPF. Maggie Carolus, who attended the launch, says the session was informative and educational.“I want to encourage the victims of domestic violence to make contact with me. This includes the LGBT community, youngsters in abusive relationships and also the elderly,” says Schuter.Schuter also welcomed the religious leaders of Windows of Heaven for their valuable input and support for the campaign against gender-based violence.“We need more of the religious fraternity to participate and engage with their congregation on gender-based violence. We need to use every platform to raise awareness,” says Schuter.“We will also be having our annual Walk a Mile in my Shoes event again this year and various awareness drives in the community with Strandfontein police. If the community is able to contribute in other ways, they may do so as we are in dire need of paper to print awareness brochures and posters.” V If you are a victim of domestic violence and would like to join the #BeBoldForChange movement, email email@example.com or call 071 947 8294.