The Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum has launched a helpline for victims and other members of the public to report cases of sexual and gender based violence cases among others.
Police recently reported an increase in cases of domestic violence during the Coronavirus lockdown.
However, according to Patrick Mwesigye, the UYAHF team leader, they realized a new to create a 24/7 helpline for victims and other people in communities to report cases for redress.
“Many of the Adolescents continue to struggle with the accessibility to sexual and reproductive health information, services and items and don’t know how to seek or get support. Many adolescents and young women in Uganda are also experiencing various forms of abuse and don’t have the knowledge on how to go about reporting these cases,”Mwesigye said.
“During the lockdown, there was a drastic increase in the number of cases reporting sexual exploitation and abuse, gender-based violence, child marriages and denial of essential sexual and reproductive health services such as contraception, maternal health care, and post-abortion services but victims never got the much needed assistance.”
Named Suubi, the 24/7 helpline will be used by victims ro report cases of sexual and gender based violence.
“Suubi means hope which is exactly what we are trying to bring to these young people. Any Ugandan individual will be able to call, send an SMS, or contact the Suubi helpline through WhatsApp and they will be responded to by trained counsellors and nurses, or referred onto the correct service for support. Some of the best things about it is that the helpline will be entirely confidential, free and operated 24/7,” Mwesigye said.
He added that the helpline will help provide accurate information, counselling and support, as well as timely referral services.
“This service will be available for anyone regardless of ethnicity, tribe, orientation, age, or sex who needs support regarding sexual and reproductive health, maternal health, sexual and gender based violence, pro- bon legal advice, post-rape care and social-psychological support.”
In April, the deputy Police spokesperson, Polly Namaye said 328 cases of domestic violence had been reported in a period of less than two months since the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown.
Recently, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba asked men to join in the fight against domestic violence.