Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
7 Dec 2021
12:53 pm

GBV spikes over the holidays: Here’s where to get help

Narissa Subramoney

1st for Women Insurance has since donated funds to ensure that Tears has the resources to cope with the influx of GBV cases over the festive season. 

Picture: iStock

Gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women and children tends to spike over the December holidays, according to Tears Foundation, which offers free, national and survivor-centred services.

Founder and CEO Mara Glennie said the foundation was inundated with calls for help from women during the festive period last year.

“Last year, over the festive season, we were inundated with 42,962 calls for help for gender-based violence, which was a 57% increase from November 2020 and a 117% increase from October 2020,” said Glennie. 

The majority of calls received were related to domestic violence and sexual assault.

1st for Women Insurance has since donated funds to ensure that Tears has the resources to cope with the influx of GBV cases over the festive season. 

Seugnette van Wyngaard, head of 1st for Women, explains: “Government’s goal is to eradicate GBV and femicide by 2030, but we are already on the back foot.

“While we wait for action and accountability to protect our women from the GBV pandemic, we need to do what we can to support the passionate activists and advocacy groups who work tirelessly to assist victims and survivors of GBV in South Africa.”

Thinking of leaving an abusive partner? Here’s what you can do.

  1. Make notes: Write down everything about the abusive incidents when your abuser is not around.
    Take screenshots of any abusive messages they send to you. 
    If you are being physically abused, take pictures of the marks on your body, and go and see a doctor.
    The evidence can help you when you need to file a report with the police or get a protection order. 
    Even if you have not written anything down before, write down what you remember from previous abusive episodes. You might already have messages as proof, keep those too.
    Just remember to keep those notes and images out of your partner’s sight.
  2. Safety planning: This a crucial step for someone involved in an abusive relationship.
    Do not tell your partner that you are leaving them.
    Trust your instincts.
    Practice how to get out safely, with your children.
    Teach your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent.
    Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
    Put together an emergency bag with money/credit cards/debit cards, extra keys, medicine and important papers such as birth certificates. Keep it somewhere safe and accessible.
    Consider speaking to a trained domestic violence counsellor to create a detailed safety plan.

Here’s how to contact Tears Foundation.

  • Dial *134*7355#, and or emergency press 2 and follow the prompts. A first responder will contact you. This service is free, 24/7.
  • Helpline: 010 590 5920 (Standard rates apply)
  • Email address:

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