The pandemic and associated movement control orders have brought about an alarming increase in cases of domestic violence as well as online sexual violence and child abuse, says Women's Centre for Change (WCC) executive director Loh Cheng Kooi.
“The lockdowns and movement restrictions have caused an unprecedented rise in domestic violence, not to mention stress within the family and even marriage breakdowns, ” says Loh.
In response to the feedback, WCC recently upgraded its website to be a one-stop information hub for women and children in distress.
With WCC’s website upgrade, users will be able to get a better understanding of domestic violence and harassment and also find out how and where to get help. They will also get to know the laws involved, says Loh.
She highlights that there are several improved features in the website, particularly in the “issues” section which is tailored to help survivors domestic violence or child sexual abuse get the help that they need.
“Firstly, the language: the information is written in a way that is clear, simple and easy to understand, and it is in four languages – English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil – to make it accessible across all segments of society and all ethnicities. Secondly, the website is designed to be more user-friendly and easy to navigate and find information, ” she says.
The mobile-friendly upgrade enables members of the public to look up information more quickly to help abused women and children. Areas covered and clearly outlined include domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, and marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
“With the upgrade, the sub-sections are now positioned with easy-to-navigate drop-down lists. We’ve enhanced each of the sub-sections to include more important information and access points to gain help. We’ve also added translations in Tamil to complement the three languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese – which we had earlier, ” says Loh.
“It is our hope that through our upgraded website, anyone who is being abused can safely seek help rather than remain silent or suffer alone because help is always at hand, ” she adds.
The website upgrade was made possible through a RM18, 300 contribution by OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad through its CEO Datuk Ong Eng Bin.
“We’re grateful to Datuk Ong of OCBC Bank for being such a strong supporter of WCC’s work and cause. This is information work, and though not as visible or tangible as other forms of CSR initiatives such as donating food to the poor, it is just as important, so that women and children who are abused can get help, ” says Loh.
Ong says that he is pleased to see the effort coming to fruition and applaudes WCC for their continuous commitment towards making a change in the lives of those abused, and even more so during the pandemic.
“It’s a tragedy for anyone to have to go through physical, emotional or mental abuse, especially with the challenges thrown their way by the pandemic,” says Ong.
“We applaud WCC for their fine work in upgrading the website so our women and children can have quicker and easier access to help when they need it the most. And we’re glad to have been able to partner with them in this small way,” he adds.
"Also, anyone who wants to help victims of gender-based violence can access the information easily,” she concludes.
For more info, visit: wccpenang.org/