Women's groups laud the government's allocation of RM21 mil to set up local social support centres for domestic violence victims in the Budget 2021.
Women's Centre for Change, Penang programme director Karen Lai says the allocation is "heartening", adding that she hopes the government will work closely with NGOs in providing for women who need support and help in these centres.
"WCC appreciates that domestic violence and prevention of violence arising from mental health challenges are highlighted as critical Covid-19 issues in this budget. We call for the government to increase consultation with women's NGOs working with women and children on the ground in order to ensure that the benefits of the budget channeled responsively and inclusively," says Lai.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said that the government would seek the help of NGOs to run the centres which will safeguard women who experience violence.
Since the movement control order in March, there has been a spike in calls to Talian Kasih and other helplines from women who are experiencing violence and abuse at home.
With many businesses affected and people at the risk of losing their jobs and livelihoods, situations at homes can be volatile, said Lai in an earlier interview with The Star.
“As time goes by, there is likely to be a rise in the unemployment rate, which will contribute to stress within families, compounding the risk for violence, ” she said.