WC women's shelter sees spike in calls for help from domestic abuse victims

The Western Cape Women's Shelter Movement's Kathy Cronje believes, that initially, anxiety over contracting the virus trumped the fear many women felt at the thought of being stuck inside a house with an abusive partner or family member during the lockdown.

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CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Women's Shelter Movement said that it has seen a sudden spike in calls for help since the national lockdown was extended.

Domestic abuse victims have been forced into confinement with their abusive partners.

The Western Cape Women's Shelter Movement's Kathy Cronje believes, that initially, anxiety over contracting the virus trumped the fear many women felt at the thought of being stuck inside a house with an abusive partner or family member during the lockdown.

"The thought of being able to do three weeks, maybe they could handle that but possibly with the president's announcement that there was an extension, I think definitely with the clients we've had, they couldn't take it any longer and they had to get out."

Cronje said that their facilities had been divided into stage 1 and stage 2 shelters during the outbreak.

There are currently four stage 1 shelters in this province where women would be placed for a 14-day isolation period.

When the two weeks are completed and the women, some of them accompanied by their children, show no symptoms, they are then moved to one of 15 stage 2 shelters.

Cronje has urged women seeking help to urgently contact their closest police station or Social Development office or call the gender-based violence command centre on 0800 428 428.

WATCH: COVID-19 Situation Desk - 21 April 2020 PM