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.


Calls received:
2016 (to May): 23,982
2015: 44,614
2014: 2,384
2013: 376
Total: 71,456





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:

  • Counselled the rape victim
  • Convinced victim to report the case to the South African Police Service
  • Liaised with South African Police Service to visit the victim
  • Arranged for the disabled victim to have a medical examination conducted
  • Perpetrator arrested and appeared in court - April 2014

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

  • Counselled the rape victim
  • Advised the victim to report the case to the South African Police Service
  • Requested the victim to apply for a Protection Order from her nearest Magistrate Court
  • Connected the victim with the NGO: People Opposing Women Abuse
  • Perpetrator arrested and appeared in court – September 2015

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.