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‘TINA’, the first SMS helpline for domestic abuse Survivors is in Town

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) has introduced TINA, a new SMS helpline to reach out to survivors of domestic violence and women in crisis. TINA was launched as part of WAO’s national public education campaign, #NoExcuseForAbuse on 8 March 2014, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

TINA (Think I Need Aid) is an extension of WAO’s service and takes the form of a ‘virtual friend’ of WAO. Ivy Josiah, Executive Director of Women’s Aid Organisation, said, “At the early phase of an abusive relationship, victim survivors may not be ready to accept that they are victims of abuse. The thought of calling a helpline may be too much, besides SMS is becoming so much a part of our daily communications. TINA is unique as it is the first of its kind in Malaysia.”

“SMS is a medium which provides a veil of anonymity for survivors who may find ‘calling a helpline’ as a barrier. Speaking on the phone may also be dangerous, especially if the perpetrator is close enough to hear. As a ‘friend’, TINA will be approachable and appeal to the younger generation who  prefers an informal chat with a friend rather than speaking to a counsellor or social worker. TINA will refer callers to WAO’s social workers when they are ready,” said Sally Wangsawijaya, Advocacy Officer of Women’s Aid Organisation.

In 2013, nearly 2,000 women have reached out to WAO by telephone for counselling. WAO has also sheltered 153 women, and conducted 125 face-to-face counselling last year. Since 1982, WAO has assisted victim survivors of domestic violence through its shelter services, counselling and advocacy work on women’s rights.

TINA is available from 9.00 am – 5.30 pm on Monday to Friday. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, SMS TINA at 018 988 8058.

The #NoExcuseForAbuse campaign is supported by the Embassy of the United States of America Kuala Lumpur, TBWA Kuala Lumpur, Studio DL, Publika, Hero Market and Sunway Pyramid.

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