If you are a victim of abuse…
If you are a victim of abuse…
The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) operates under The Department of Social Development. The Centre operates a National, 24hr/7days-a-week Call Centre facility. The facility employs social workers who are responsible for call-taking and call referrals. The Centre operates an Emergency Line number – 0800 428 428. This is supported by a USSD, “please call me” facility: *120*7867#. A Skype Line ‘Helpme GBV’ for members of the deaf community also exists. (Add ‘Helpme GBV’ to your Skype contacts). An SMS Based Line 31531 for persons with disabilities (SMS ‘help’ to 31531) also exists.
The Centre employs 48 Social Work Agents, 8 Social Work Supervisors, 4 Quality Assurers and 1 Centre Manager, to operate and offer services to victims of Gender Based Violence. As support to the GBVCC telephonic trauma counselling, the Department of Social Development has conceived and launched a National Emergency Response Team (NERT) to pilot a national rapid response approach to provision of psychosocial services following incidents of trauma. Provincial DSD takes over after the initial three-day rapid response.
The Centre is able to refer calls directly to SAPS (10111) and field Social Workers who respond to victims of GBV.
The 24/7 GBV Command Centre can assist with the following matters:
Domestic Violence, Rape, Physical Abuse, Indecent Assault, Verbal Abuse/ Intimidation and Abandoned Children, Stalking, Economic Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Harassment, Forced Marriages, Forced Prostitution, Forced Abortion, Human Trafficking, Exploitation of Domestic Workers, Abuse of Elderly, Incest and violence against foreign nationals.
Matric related queries, SASSA grant, substance abuse, and request for information, adoption, family disputes, home affairs related queries and child custody.
Abuse is an attempt to control the behaviour of another person. It is a misuse of power which uses the bonds of intimacy, trust and dependency to make the victim vulnerable.
Physical abuse includes pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking, punching, hitting, spitting, pinching, pulling hair, choking, throwing things, hitting victims with an object, and using or threatening to use a weapon.
Sexual abuse is forced unwanted sex, demanding the partner wear more (or less) provocative clothing; forced sex in any form; insisting the partner act out fantasies, and denial of the partner’s sexuality.
Verbal abuse is a form of abusive behaviour involving the use of language (criticizing, name-calling, put downs threatening, blaming). It differs from profanity in that it can occur without the use of expletives. Verbal abuse is a pattern of behaviour that can seriously interfere with one’s positive emotional development and over time, can lead to significant detriment to one’s self-esteem, emotional well-being and physical state. Verbal abuse, although not visibly apparent, is damaging nonetheless.
Financial abuse occurs when you are not allowed to have money or any control over money. This could include running up large debts in your name or selling your possessions without permission. Your partner may keep you accountable for any money spent, approving or disapproving of your spending. It could also mean you are not allowed to have a job so you are dependent on your partner for money and survival.
Isolation occurs when you are isolated from your family, friends, and community as a way for your partner to stay in control. Your partner may be extremely jealous of any contacts you have, forbid you to have contact with anyone, or monitor your phone calls, mail or daily activities. Sometimes your partner may use intimidation or threats to control you. You may have to be accountable for your time away or have to make excuses for leaving the home. You may have to communicate secretly when your partner is absent.
Emotional/psychological abuse can cause anxiety and depression and cause you to withdraw from everyone or everything around you. Examples of this type of abuse include insulting your family or friends, ridiculing your beliefs, race or religion, using constant put downs, threatening suicide if you leave, keeping you prisoner in your home, threatening to take the children if you leave and threatening to have you deported.
Many people who are being abused do not see themselves as victims. Also, abusers do not see themselves as being abusive. People often think of domestic violence as physical violence, such as hitting. However, domestic violence takes other forms, such as psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Domestic violence is about one person in a relationship using a pattern of behaviors to control the other person. It can happen to people who are married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated, or dating.
If your partner repeatedly uses one or more of the following to control you:
• pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, kicking, or biting
• threatening you, your children, other family members or pets
• threatening suicide to get you to do something
• using or threatening to use a weapon against you
• keeping or taking your paycheck
• puts you down or makes you feel bad
• forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like
• keeping you from seeing your friends, family or from going to work
Abusers are not easy to spot. There is no ‘typical’ abuser. In public, they may appear friendly and loving to their partner and family. They often only abuse behind closed doors. They also try to hide the abuse by causing injuries that can be hidden and do not need a doctor.
Abuse is not an accident. It does not happen because someone was stressed-out, drinking, or using drugs. Abuse is an intentional act that one person uses in a relationship to control the other. Abusers have learned to abuse so that they can get what they want. The abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological.
Abusers often have low self-esteem. They do not take responsibility for their actions. They may even blame the victim for causing the violence. In most cases, men abuse female victims. It is important to remember that women can also be abusers and men can be victims.