THE Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) has handled 30 calls to date since the movement control order (MCO) started on March 18.
WCC programme director Karen Lai said that out of the 30 calls, 10 were about domestic violence while seven asked for help in finding money and food.
“This shows that domestic violence and other unhappy events are still happening.
“We anticipate that the situation will worsen as the MCO has been extended.
“Many businesses are affected and people are at strong risk of losing their jobs and livelihoods.
“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 when interviewed.
Lai said the centre was concerned that many cases would remain unreported as people were preoccupied with the economic crisis.
“Our hotline is not just for domestic violence. Those who encounter sexual abuse or have matrimonial problems can also contact us. Women and children who are highly stressed can call and talk to us.
“We foresee a continued need for us to provide mental health support to the public.
“The majority of our clients come from the lower-income group who earn less than RM3,000 a month.
“They will definitely feel the financial pinch during this crisis, ” she said.
Lai said the WCC had extended its free counselling services during the MCO period covering the latest extension from April 1 to 14.
“Women and children in a crisis can call, whatsApp or email us on Monday to Saturday from 9am to 9pm during the MCO period.
“We will provide them with free counselling services.”
Those in need of a listening ear can call WCC Penang at 011-310 84001 or 016-428 7265 or the WCC Seberang or Pusat Perkhidmatan Wanita (PPW) at 016-439 0698 or 016-418 0342.
These services are open to everyone, not just Penangites.
Alternatively, those who do not feel comfortable talking on the phone may whatsApp WCC at 016-448 0342 or email email@example.com.
Counselling is available in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil.