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Helpline service in hot demand

A helpline set up by the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) is in high demand with the facility getting close to 300 calls for assistance.

The Savings Lives Campaign helpline service was set up September 20 this year and a month later had recorded calls from 283 people over mental health issues, gender-based violence, Samoans abroad seeking assistance for families in villages and various other issues.

The objective of the helpline service, according to a statement released by the S.V.S.G., is to improve awareness on the service offered by the non-government organisation.

"Four weeks (into the campaign) from 20 of September to the 19 of October 2019, the Samoa Victim Support Group's database recorded 168 support responses for Helpline callers compared to 115 support provided for walk-in clients," the S.V.S.G. said. 

"The magnitude of the help being sought ranges from counseling support, parental guidance, assistance with family dispute, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, abandoned children with disabilities, homeless and mental disabilities, attempted murder and suicidal victims of violence. 

“With limited resources and personnel, S.V.S.G. is humbled by our people’s confidence to come forward and seek help.”

One call came from the mother of a student who was allegedly beaten by a school principal, added the S.V.S.G. Another call from a woman with mental health issues, who wanted food and water.

“The request for food and water from a woman with mental disabilities; the desperate plea for help from a suicidal woman survivor of violence; the phone calls and emails late at nights from Samoans living abroad requesting help for their families in the villages; were some of the lives the campaign has saved.”

Immediate access to help for victims is also the main driver behind the helpline service with the SVSG saying some people called, while they were in the middle of violent situations.

“Some of the callers had different types of emotions from the sound of their voices such as fear, anxiety, terror, depression, anger. Through the helpline, we have been able to address these emotions while talking the callers through their different situations.”

And while the organisation acknowledges they can also be limited in the service they provide, they believe that a basic service such as that offered by Helpline can have a ripple effect in the community. 

The S.V.S.G. also thanked their major sponsors for making the helpline service possible. They include Bluesky, Digicel, Samoa Commercial Bank, Bank of the South Pacific, Moana Rentals, Pacific Ezy Money, Fexco Samoa, CCK Trading Limited, Blue Pacific Car Hire, Ford Hyundai Samoa, and Federal Pacific Finance.

The S.V.S.G. said anyone who wants to be part of their Savings Lives Campaign should contact the Helpline on 800-7874 or message them on their Facebook page. Emails can also be sent to the address [email protected] 

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