Non-profits launch domestic abuse helpline

From left are, Shahnaaz Paruk, chief executive officer of Penny Appeal South Africa, Nuraan Osman, director of Ihata Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Shaheen Sha and Faizel Porter, at the launch of the domestic abuse helpline.

Two non-profit organisations have joined hands to launch a new domestic abuse helpline.

Ihata Shelter for Abused Women and Children, based in Heideveld, and Penny Appeal South Africa, launched the helpline on Thursday September 12.

Faizel Porter, speaking at the launch, said the 24-hour toll-free helpline, is aimed at survivors of gender-based violence.

“Our core focus is on women, but it is also open to men and boys. We have 25 trained members of staff who will be providing counselling, advice, support and referrals,” Mr Porter said.

When asked why the need for another helpline, the director of Ihata Shelter, Nuraan Osman, said too often survivors do not speak out or seek help.

“There are many helplines, because many survivors don’t want to speak to someone face-to-face. They don’t talk about it and they don’t report it to the police. The Cape Flats nuances is what we are particularly targeting, as people feel more comfortable speaking to someone who understands their vernacular.

“Most people know we are based in Heideveld and when they call the helpline they will be assured they are speaking to someone from their community who understands them. People also want to talk anonymously, and a helpline gives them that opportunity,” Ms Osman said.

Penny Appeal South Africa is a local non-government organisation, which is part of the global organisation. Although Penny Appeal is also dependent on people’s generosity, they are funding the helpline fully.

Asked how the partnership came about, Shahnaaz Paruk, chief executive officer of Penny Appeal South Africa, said: “Like-minded people find each other.”

Penny Appeal’s focus is on orphans and vulnerable children, and assists with water wells, education, health programmes, food security and to create transformation.

The helpline has been operational since its launch. The number is 0800 444 442.