The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) reported a 44% increase in WAO hotline calls and WhatsApp enquiries from February to March 2020 but subsequently saw an even greater spike in the first half of April - which is when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented.
Photo via The Independent
Now, WAO is joining together with the Selangor Government Taskforce on Health and Welfare to provide emergency measures for domestic violence survivors during the MCO.
The aim is to provide immediate support and prevent the cycle of domestic violence from being repeated in homes in Selangor. The Selangor state government has set aside specific funds to support costs for crisis-services for Selangor residents.
WAO’s role is to address the issues of domestic violence and child abuse, as the focal point on domestic violence in the Taskforce, other grassroots, and community NGOs can refer women and children to WAO for domestic violence and related matters.
The taskforce is chaired by YB Dr. Siti Mariah Mahmud, Selangor Government EXCO for Health, Welfare, Women and Family Empowerment, and also includes various other NGOs.
WAO received 264 calls and WhatsApp enquiries, which is a 111.2% increase compared to 125 calls and WhatsApp enquiries over a 14-day period in February. Of all the hotline calls, slightly more than half originate from within the Klang Valley area alone, making the Selangor state government taskforce a timely intervention for at-risk women and children.
As the MCO has been in place in order to tackle the global pandemic, there are many at-risk women and children who find themselves trapped in the same houses as their abusers. At the same time, resources are diverted to address the pandemic, reducing the critical social infrastructure such as social services, mental healthcare, access to the criminal justice system, as well as women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare that are crucially needed to protect domestic violence survivors.
If you know someone who is experiencing domestic abuse, you can contact the 24-hour WAO hotline at 03 7956 3488 and through TINA (WhatsApp or SMS) at 018 9888 058 for free and confidential information and to access crisis services.
Check on your family members, your neighbours, your friends or your colleagues. Remind them that they are not alone. Take care of yourself and the people around you, especially during this difficult time.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat