South Africa unfortunately has one of the highest incidences of gender based violence, but thanks to the help and initiative of the South African Police Service, victims of these crimes will now have 24-hour access to the help of The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre.
What is a Gender-Based Violence Command Centre?
The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) is a 24-hour call centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence.
The GBVCC was established in 2013 and launched on 25 March 2014 as part of the service delivery improvement programme aimed at responding quicker, more effectively and innovatively to social challenges in the country.
The command centre is based in Forum Office Park in Groenkloof, Pretoria East and is managed by qualified social workers, who will be providing support and counselling to victims of gender- based violence. Calls are routed to the police, as appropriate and quick as possible. The Emergency Response Services respond to GBVCC matters at all times.
How does the GBVCC operate?
The GBVCC uses mobile technology to estimate the location of a victim, assigns the closest social worker in the field to the case and records and receives continuous feedback about the case.
When a caller contacts the GBVCC from a mobile phone, he/she will be (with explicit permission) geographically located, enabling the centre to determine the resources nearest to the caller, whether it be a social worker, a police station, a hospital or safe house. In this way, help is dispatched quicker.
What are the benefits of the GBVCC addressing gender-based violence?
The GBVCC is the most effective technological innovative service delivery vehicle to support victims of gender-based violence.
It can play a major role in providing a redress mechanism to the victims of gender based violent crimes.
It can provide hope to the public in terms of offering effective integrated services for such crimes and it may broaden the quality of service delivery to the remotest and most underdeveloped regions of the country.
It provides immediate telephonic counselling and ensures assistance to victims.
How is the SAPS involved in the GBVCC?
The command centre is linked to the SAPS’s 10111 and police stations. The GBVCC will filter in gender-based violence and related calls, but not necessary emergencies that require an immediate response by the SAPS. The calls should be ideally from callers enquiring information and advice about court processes and procedures of reported cases.
What is expected from SAPS members?
All SAPS members at all service points are requested to sensitise victims of gender-based violence about the services rendered at the GBVCC as indicated above, and to provide the contact details of the centre. The contact details of the command centre should be included in the directory of services.
How can the command centre be accessed?
All victims of gender-based violence may contact the centre on a toll-free number to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling on 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request that a social worker from the command centre contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.