When it comes to sexual violence South Africa has some harrowing statistics: every 26 seconds a woman is raped; every three minutes a child is raped; one in four women has experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.
This is why, in 2014, the Vodacom Foundation partnered with South Africa’s Department of Social Development to set up a 24-hour call centre for victims of gender-based violence (GBV).
As a technology company Vodacom sought to bring ICT expertise to solving the challenge of gender-based violence. The first part of the solution involved setting up a ‘command centre’ whereby victims of violence could phone in for counselling and practical help. The GBV Command Centre currently has 30 seats, and offers counselling 24/7 from qualified social workers. Issues dealt with include: rape, physical violence, abandoned children, and indecent assault.
The call centre operates through a toll free number: 0800 428 428 or (0800 GBV GBV). Or, callers can send a please-call-me to a Social Worker by dialling *120*7867#.
However, the Command Centre is more than a counselling portal. With their permission, callers can be geographically pinpointed, helping counsellors to direct them to the nearest on-the-ground resources: hospital, police station etc. What’s more social workers have an app that reduces paperwork and turnaround times. Data is collected from the GBV Command Centre to assist the Department of Social Development in resource allocation.
2016 (to May): 23,982
A disabled 17 year-old from Qwa-Qwa, Free State Province, was raped by her neighbour in 2012 and was too afraid to tell anyone for fear of being judged and ostracised. The victim heard the GBV Command Centre number on a local radio station and decided to phone in March 2014. The GBV Command Centre:
The perpetrator was found guilty of rape, and imprisoned in September 2014. The victim reported that she can now continue with her life.
A pregnant victim from Soshanguve, Gauteng, was emotionally and physically abused by her boyfriend as reported by her friend to the GBV Command Centre on 19 September 2015. The abuse continued to the point where the victim lost her unborn child.
GBV Command Centre
The perpetrator was found guilty of murder and physical violence in September 2015. The victim reported that she is very satisfied with the assistance she received.
The Command Centre is the first integrated technology of its kind in terms of Social Service Delivery in South Africa, and possibly the first in the developing world.
Global Best Technology Innovation Award – ContactCentreWorld: Las Vegas, November 2015
AfricaCom Changing Lives Award – 7th Annual AfricaCom Awards: Cape Town, November 2014
The Best Technology Innovation Award. The Command Centre represents the first integrated technology of its kind in terms of Social Service Delivery in South Africa and arguably in the developing world.