PMB call centre for domestic violence victims launched

2019-04-17 09:10
MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi speaks to a caller at the department’s new call centre that was launched on Tuesday. Next to her is Ntokozo Zondi, who works at the call centre.

MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi speaks to a caller at the department’s new call centre that was launched on Tuesday. Next to her is Ntokozo Zondi, who works at the call centre. (Nompilo Kunene)

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A new and improved 24-hour call centre was launched by the Department of Social Development in the city on Tuesday, with hopes that it will help fight gender-based violence throughout the province. 

The department’s MEC, Weziwe Thusi, on Tuesday introduced the new state-of-the-art call centre and even assisted by answering calls from the public.

She said the department has had a call centre since 2009 but has since looked at the cases being dealt with and identified a need to reconfigure the call centre in order to strengthen it and make it more responsive to the public.

The toll-free call centre handles a variety of complaints including foster care matters, old-age pension and child support and disability grants. There are also cases such as domestic violence, child abuse and substance abuse that require services of experienced social workers. The department also handles calls meant for external stakeholders such as municipalities, Home Affairs and other government departments.

Thusi said over the years, the call centre became popular to the extent that it became a convenient place for the police and the public to bring people in need of help.

The department has three professional social workers who all have over seven years of experience manning the call centre.

The social workers will be supervised by a social work supervisor who will also be stationed at the call centre. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“ ... The new system is linked to the South African Police Service and Emergency Medical and Rescue Services to assist, in particular, victims of gender-based violence. This means that women or children who find themselves in vulnerable positions will no longer need airtime to get assistance nor will they need to make multiple calls.”

The MEC said they were currently working on introducing Skype for people with disabilities, a geolocator and a Please Call Meoption.

Thusi encouraged the public who need counselling or are victims of abuse to contact their call centre on 087 158 3000.

MEC Thusi also handed over tools of trade to NPOs responsible for delivering social relief of distress throughout the province on Tuesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  gender based violence
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