GIS – 14 November, 2016: The Hotline 139, dedicated to domestic violence, is now toll free so as to enable victims of domestic violence to seek assistance even when their telephone have run out of credit or have zero balance.
The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Marie-Aurore Perraud, made the announcement in Port Louis on Friday 11 November 2016 during a press conference to present the calendar of activities in the context of the International Day Against Violence Against Women, commemorated on 25 November annually. The hotline 139 has been operational on a 24 hr basis and as a paid service since 2007.
She commended the telephone operators for their support regarding the free telephone service for victims of domestic violence and stressed that people calling the toll free number will be provided prompt and timely assistance by officers of the Ministry. She added that a poster and sticker campaign will be launched to inform people about the toll-free hotline 139.
Regarding the slogan retained for this year’s commemoration - Aret Violans Domestik (Stop domestic violence), the Minister stated that it was chosen because of the increase in the number of cases of domestic violence in Mauritius. She pointed out that prior to the launching of the campaign, several initiatives against domestic violence have been taken including the proclamation of the Protection from Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act on 1st September 2016, and sensitisation programmes on the new provisions of the Act held in women empowerment centres across the country.
She underlined the leading role that religious leaders can play in addressing domestic violence, and announced that she would meet them to discuss on the way faith communities can fight domestic violence. “We are also working with authorities from Reunion Island to set up an Observatory for gender-based domestic violence,” she said.
Mrs Perraud stressed that the calendar of activities elaborated by the Ministry in collaboration with the private sector and the civil society to commemorate the International Day Against Violence Against Women aims at raising awareness of the population on the necessity of not condoning or even tolerating domestic violence.
Calendar of activities
The activities comprise the coming into operation of the Domestic Violence Information System (DOVIS) on 16 November 2016. DOVIS is a web-based computer system for registration of reported cases of domestic violence that will be used as a tool to monitor and assess record, as well as generate specific reports on such cases.
They also include a colloquium for Magistrates on ‘Domestic Violence: The Justice System’ on 25 November 2016; a National Video Clip Competition on the theme Aret Violans Domestik in collaboration with the Mauritius Film Development Corporation from 14 November to 21 November 2016, and the broadcasting of the winning clip on the MBC/TV from 25 November to 10 December 2016; a training session for journalists on media coverage of domestic violence; and the screening of a short film on domestic violence.
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