First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa says victims of gender-based violence can now get immediate help on a toll-free line into a call centre set up in her office and be swiftly connected to the police, emergency medical services or counselling services.
The call centre was set up following reports of escalating cases of gender-based violence (GBV), in the vast majority of cases by men on women, and the need for instant reporting and support to ensure the safety of the victims.
Announcing the initiative on behalf of the First Lady during virtual commemorations to mark International Women’s Day yesterday, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said depending on the nature of the case and support requirements, the call centre agents will connect the caller to relevant service providers.
“Calls on the toll free number will be answered at the gender-based violence support line where first level support is received. Depending on the nature of challenge and support requirements, the call centre agents will then connect the caller to relevant service providers,” she said.
The First Lady said the toll-free number is 575 with users of TelOne, NetOne and Telecel already able to call the centre and the other networks expected to be on board soon.
“It is expected that the network of service providers will continue to be expanded depending on the emerging needs based on the trends of phone calls received. TelOne, NetOne and Telecel users can access to free services with the expectation that all other operators will also come on board soon.” She added.
Around the world, lockdowns used to contain Covid-19 have been seeing more GBV as women with abusive partners are locked up with these men.