Help create safe families

A zumba dance session during the closing ceremony of Penang Goes Orange 2019 campaign at Escape Theme Park in Teluk Bahang last year. — Filepic

WITH the launch of the Penang Goes Orange campaign, the Penang government is calling for public support to stop all forms of domestic violence through the campaign themed ‘Safe Family’ this year.

State social development committee chairman Chong Eng said curbing domestic violence goes beyond what the state and non-governmental organisations could do.

“This campaign aims to reduce domestic violence cases, bring awareness to the public and create a safe environment for families to grow and nurture in.

“We need support from multiple sectors and the public. We need each of you to get involved and be part of the action to reduce domestic violence cases.

“It is no longer a time where domestic violence is a marital or private family problem. It has to be seen as a societal issue that requires everyone’s attention and interference, ” she told a press conference via Zoom on Tuesday.

Chong Eng said in an effort to address domestic violence, the state introduced and implemented the ‘Penang Safe Family Policy’ to provide immediate and accessible support to victims of domestic violence.

“This is done through First Support Points made available at walk-in counters in state departments, elected representatives’ service centres, NGOs and religious bodies in Penang.

“Through these counters, the public, especially victims, can receive support and get crucial information on lodging police reports, receiving treatment and temporary shelter.

“Without vital support, victims may find themselves trapped in a state of helplessness and are unable to break free of an endless cycle of violence.”

Chong Eng said due to lockdown measures enacted in countries across the globe amid the Covid-19 pandemic, women now face a higher chance of being exposed to domestic violence.

“This is because family members spend more time in close contact and household stress intensifies.

“The risk grows greater when families have to cope with potential economic or job losses.

“When we think about domestic violence, many only see obvious physical effects towards the victims but domestic violence carries financial impact on a state and the country as well.

“In 2006, Unicef found that children who are exposed to violence are more likely to have emotional or behavioural problems, be at greater risk of experiencing physical or sexual assault, and are more likely to mimic abusive behaviours.

“These indicated that domestic violence is not a private problem, but a cycle that affects children, their peers, and the workplace.”

Penang Women’s Development Corporation chief executive officer Ong Bee Leng said they would be working with the women and family development committee (JPWK) in all 40 constituencies to organise activities to ensure the campaign reaches the ground.

“We are collaborating with the elected representatives’ service centres to deliver goodie bags containing vital information on support systems like the first support points, welfare department offices and the police as well.”

Ong said during the course of the campaign, an online competition would be held until Dec 8, where the public can join by taking a photo or video of healthy interaction with their family.

“Along with the material, participants need to include a caption on how they prioritise a safe family free from domestic violence and the entry with the most likes will stand to win the first prize of RM2,000.

“On Dec 19, there will be a five-minute live virtual walk led by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman joined by 100 men from various sectors.”

For details on the campaign or related activities, visit the Penang Women’s Development Corporation-PWDC Facebook page.

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