Life­Line ex­tends its com­mu­nity services

Eyethu Baywatch - - NEWS • IZINDABA - Conelia Harry

PROAC­TIVE mea­sures by Life­Line Zu­l­u­land to en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to utilise its services have yielded pos­i­tive re­sults.

At the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing last week, it was re­ported that Life­Line served a to­tal of 7 391 ben­e­fi­cia­ries, of which 4 593 were do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cases.

Life­Line Di­rec­tor, Michelle Jewlal, said pre­vi­ously ben­e­fi­cia­ries would only be en­gaged at its cen­tres, but Life­Line now also reaches vic­tims through door-to-door in­ter­ac­tion and at lo­cal clin­ics, com­mu­nity di­a­logues and aware­ness cam­paigns, with up to 30% of cases re­ferred by SAPS.

The proac­tive mea­sures were aimed at en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to speak out about vi­o­lence and to seek help.

But Jewlal em­pha­sised that Life­Line’s coun­selling desk re­mains un­der­utilised by the com­mu­nity.

‘There is still stigma as­so­ci­ated with coun­selling and we find com­mu­nity mem­bers are still not fully util­is­ing our services to im­prove their emo­tional well­ness and handle life’s chal­lenges.

‘We con­tinue to go out into the com­mu­ni­ties to ed­u­cate them that help is avail­able.

‘Other high­lights are that the De­part­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment has ex­panded its services to the uMkhanyakude Dis­trict re­lat­ing to in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence pro­grammes,’ said Jewlal.

VEP

Life­Line’s Vic­tim Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme (VEP) aims to in­crease emo­tional well­ness and re­duce vic­tims’ se­condary trauma.

The ini­tia­tive raises aware­ness around gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

Ac­cord­ing to Jewlal, so­cial, cul­tural and the fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on how in­di­vid­u­als tend to deal with mat­ters of sen­si­tive na­ture, such as rape or do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

‘Com­mu­ni­ties in gen­eral are not fully aware of their rights and scope of sup­port or services avail­able to them. Cer­tain types of be­hav­iours are some­times ac­cepted as the norm, be­cause com­mu­ni­ties have been ex­posed to and have been liv­ing with such ex­pe­ri­ences for a long time.

‘These pro­grammes are vi­tal be­cause the more services the com­mu­ni­ties are ex­posed to, the greater the chances of ac­cess to services and ul­ti­mately heal­ing.’

The Life­Line Zu­l­u­land se­nior and ju­nior man­age­ment team at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing S’phe Mlung­wana, Non­du­miso Mayise, So­cial Worker Su­per­vi­sor Aaliya Fran­sch, Nom­pilo Ma­phu­mulo and Di­rec­tor Michelle Jewlal

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