LifeLine extends its community services
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.
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