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Sending Out Strength: Victims of family violence can now get help via vocational training institutes

Picture for representational purposes only. Source: Getty Images/Nattakorn Maneerat / EyeEm

During COVID-19, SHAMSHIR, an Australia-based family violence help organisation has started a global movement to help vulnerable people facing family or domestic violence. The initiative is working simultaneously in five countries.

Calling this initiative ‘Sending Out Strength’ or SOS, Saru Rana, the founder of SHAMSHIR, has tied up with vocational training institutes in Australia to send out the SOS signal to potentially vulnerable people.

Punjab-based journalist Baltej Pannu has been made the global patron of SOS.


  • Sending Out Strength, or SOS is a new Australian-origin global initiative to tackle family violence
  • Information about help will be provided by vocational training institutes 
  • SOS will work simultaneously in Australia, India, Canada, the US and the UK

“With SOS, we intend to tie up with colleges across Australia, India, Canada, the US, and the UK with the purpose of spreading contact details of organisations that help victims of family violence. In Australia, SHAMSHIR has already reached an agreement with eight training institutes in Adelaide in which 1,500 students are enrolled,” says Ms Rana.

sending out strength
The poster of SOS.
Saru Rana

These vocational training institutes, says Mr Rana, impart education in the fields of aged care, cookery, hospitality, child care etc. These professions have a high demand for skilled workers. Migrants, especially from the Indian community, tend to enrol in such institutes in large numbers.

Mr Pannu, therefore, says the SOS message will be easy to spread in countries where Indian population is in plenty.

“In Punjabi, there’s a saying that if we face a serious problem, we should stand on rooftops and shout for help. Today, the opposite is happening – people are bottling up their pain and frustration inside them and we are seeing a rise in suicides. The current times of COVID-19, especially, have tested our patience, but we need to ask for help when we run out of hope,” he adds.

Ms Rana says, “Mr Pannu is the backbone of the SOS movement that aims to combat domestic violence, abuse and social-isolation by having a chat with the affected, as he believes that talking can do a lot.”.

Mr Pannu urges anyone feeling vulnerable to look up SOS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and chat with the team privately.

“To ensure every victim’s privacy, we have chosen to use the primate message tool of various social media platforms instead of having an email or phone number,” he says.

Other than Mr Pannu and Ms Rana, SOS will be supported by ‘ambassadors’ across the world.

Lovleen Gill is an organ and tissue donation activist in Canada, Sarbjit Athwal spreads awareness against honour killing in the UK while Simranjit Kaur Gill, a lawyer in India educates children about physical and sexual abuse. 

Listen to the podcast in Punjabi by clicking on the player inside the picture at the top of the page.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can seek help at 1800 737 732

If you are experiencing stress, call Lifeline at 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Find out what restrictions are in place for your state or territory.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at

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