National Hotline to help meet safe families, safe homes objective
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services
Officials of the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development Monday re-launched the Ministry's National Hotline as part of the Government of The Bahamas' Safe Families, Safe Communities, Safe Homes campaign.
Minister of Social Services and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie S. Griffin, said the relaunch is expected to make more people aware of the many usages of the hotline.
Griffin said while the Hotline still caters to persons who are victims of domestic violence and child and sexual abuse and assault, additional areas of concern have been added for persons seeking comfort and/or consolation, including those with suicidal tendencies and those who are suffering from stress and/or depression among other categories.
Manned by 21 trained counsellors on a rotational basis, the Hotline is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We are of the view that the Hotline is presently underutilised by the public hence the need for a sustained public information campaign to continually remind persons of the availability of this service at a national level," Griffin said.
"There is much pain and suffering in our country and many persons suffer in silence, often to their detriment," Griffin continued. "We believe that every person deserves to live in a world free from violence or abuse. We believe that safe homes and safe families are the foundation of a safe society."
The National Hotline whose numbers are: 322-2763 and 422-2763 caters to issues ranging from child abuse, to domestic violence, marital and financial problems, hopelessness, homelessness, suicidal tendencies, stress, depression, problem children or "persons just overwhelmed by the everyday concerns of life."
"Domestic violence, abuse, helplessness, homelessness and other personal crises are not just confined to any one socio-economic, ethic, religious or age group and knows no geographic or educational boundaries," Griffin said.
"Any one experiencing any of these issues and don't know where to turn to or what to do, the hotline is available to them. If anyone knows of someone who may be experiencing any of the aforementioned issues, they are also free to call the hotline to make the counsellors aware of the situation," Griffin added.
Former Diplomat Dr. Davidson L. Hepburn will serve as Spokesperson for the National Hotline.
Griffin said Dr. Hepburn's work at the United Nations and local Public Service levels, his accomplished academic training, distinctive voice and eagerness to assist in addressing the many social ills impacting The Bahamas, made him a great choice as National Spokesperson.
"We anticipate him bringing a wealth of knowledge, exposure and experience to the forefront to inundate the society with information on the purpose of the Hotline and the timely services it offers for the benefit of residents and even visitors to our shores," Griffin said.
"We all want a safe Bahamas. We all want a Bahamas where we all can live in peace and free from abuse or violence. We must work together to make this a reality and ensure that help is available to those in distress," Griffin added
© 2012 The Freeport News