PETALING JAYA: Domestic violence comes in various forms, including physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, social and financial abuse.
The pandemic caused a spike in such cases in Malaysia, with over 900 cases reported in the first four months of 2021 alone. Meanwhile, the ministry for women, family and community development said a staggering 7,468 cases were reported last year.
Sadly, the numbers remain high even though the country is transitioning to the endemic phase.
“With the leniency in SOP enforcements, we thought the numbers would decrease, but this hasn’t been the case,” said Amnani Abdul Kadir of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), the largest service provider for survivors of domestic violence in Malaysia.
Besides having had to double their workforce in 2020 to cater to the rise in cases, the NGO’s expenses have considerably increased to cover survivors’ quarantine in hotels, Covid-19 tests, transport, food, and other items.
In light of this, WAO has launched a collection drive for the women and children at its shelter in Petaling Jaya, seeking contributions of food as well as personal-hygiene products. Any surplus items received will be handed out to the needy outside the shelter, including single mothers.
Alternatively you can make a cash donation, where every RM50 and above will be provided a receipt for tax exemption.
Also on the list of essential items are mobile phones. “Most of the time, these women run away from their abusers empty-handed,” Amnani said, explaining that these devices are needed so they can communicate with investigation and welfare officers, as well as make hospital appointments.
Cases of child abuse, she added, have also been on the rise. According to the social welfare department, 1,910 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported in Selangor alone for the one-year period between March 2020 and last year.
Fortunately, WAO will soon be able to accommodate young survivors at its new childcare centre, which was launched in April. As such, funds received will also go towards furnishing the centre, built on the site of the previous premises that was destroyed by fire in 2016.
The organisation also welcomes volunteers, whose tasks will include office work, face-checking research, sourcing items for the shelter, and assisting survivors with employment. “We also need volunteers who will play games with the children and bring them out on excursions.”
Those who are interested can attend WAO’s volunteer induction programme on Saturday, June 25 from 10am to 11.30am.
At the end of the day, everyone has a role to play in ending domestic violence as, soberingly, it is reported that every one in three women will experience physical and sexual abuse in their lifetime.
“We need the whole community to come together to help survivors,” Amnani concluded.
To donate items or to register for WAO’s volunteer induction programme, contact Ames at 017-6149189 or email [email protected]. You can also fill in the application form to sign up as a volunteer.
Cash contributions can be made to the Women’s Aid Organisation, Maybank account 512334321741 or CIMB account 8002382997.
For further information, visit WAO’s website, as well as its Facebook and Instagram accounts.