Twitter Releases Notification Service To Help Victims Of Domestic Abuse Stuck At Home

In April, the Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) saw almost a fourfold increase of domestic violence reports to their hotlines.

Cover image via Rappler & Women's Aid Organisation/Facebook

Malaysia has seen a spike in the number of domestic violence cases following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on 18 March

The COVID-19 pandemic that has forced countless of families indoors to keep safe has unfortunately led to another pressing issue, or what global agency UN Women refers to as, a shadow pandemic.

As a result of the MCO, many vulnerable individuals, especially women and children, have been left helpless and stuck at home with their abusers.

According to the Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), their domestic violence hotlines have seen an increase in enquiries by 3.6 and 3.4 times in April and May, as compared to February, before the MCO was implemented.

WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said the sharp rise in domestic violence that the organisation was witnessing during the MCO was extremely concerning

“When [victims] are put into a situation of isolation with their abusers, this creates circumstances where it is even easier for the abuser to exert control physically, emotionally, and socially," she explained in a WAO publication on Tuesday, 9 June.

"The MCO was necessary to control COVID-19, but the government must also recognise that for many women and children home is not a safe haven - but actually quite the opposite."

Other local non-governmental organisations such as the All Women's Action Society (AWAM) and even the Ministry of Health's mental health hotline have also reported a significant number of Malaysians calling in to report household violence and abuse during the MCO.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via New Straits Times

In response to the worrying trend, Twitter has partnered with these local organisations to increase contact points to help domestic abuse victims seek the support they need

The social media platform has collaborated with AWAM and WAO in Malaysia to roll out a notification service on their website that directs people to hotlines of trusted local organisations where victims can seek immediate help.

This is part of their global #ThereIsHelp initiative, where Twitter has also worked with UN Women Asia Pacific and more local organisations to bring the service to other countries, such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Bloomberg

The new tool means that when someone searches for keywords associated with domestic or gender-based violence on Twitter, a prompt will appear right at the top of the results to show them a credible organisation to seek help from

In Malaysia, the notification will appear either in English or Bahasa Malaysia and will link the user to WAO's and AWAM's Twitter accounts.

"We are with you. You are not alone," the notification first reminds the user.

Image via Twitter

Although simple, it may help a handful of victims who have no other channel of contacting these organisations or finding the help they need.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

If you or anyone you know may be at risk of domestic violence, please call these Malaysian hotlines:

Contact: +603-79563488
SMS/WhatsApp: +6018-9888058
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Weekdays (9.30am - 4.30pm)
Contact: +603-78770224
WhatsApp: +6016-2284221 | +6016-2374221
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Weekdays (9am - 5pm)
Contact: +604-2280342 | +604-3988340
WhatsApp: +6011-31084001 | +6016-4390698
Email: [email protected] 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Contact: 15999
WhatsApp: +6019-2615999
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook 

Weekdays (8am - 10pm)
Contact: +6011-23701006
WhatsApp: +6011-23701006
Email: [email protected] 
Facebook | Twitter

Twitter also collaborated with the Ministry of Health to help Malaysians easily access information about vaccines:

Domestic abuse is still rampant in Malaysia:

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