One of the unintended but predicted consequences of lockdown across the world has been spiralling domestic abuse. On the surface, it seems that little can be done to address the issue, since it is all happening behind closed doors. Abuse and silence often go hand in hand, but during the Covid-19 crisis, this silence became a vast gulf of fear and isolation. Technology can’t prevent the violence, but it is playing a major role in addressing the silence.

One of the most effective initiatives to combat gender-based violence (GBV) in SA has been a partnership between Vodacom and the department of social development, which jointly launched a GBV command centre in 2014. The mobile operator provided R4m in funding for a call centre managed by government-employed social workers...

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