Friday, May 23, 2014

Domestic Violence Apps

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit with Lara Moritz from Channel 9 about the apps that have been developed for domestic violence victims. Apps are a great way to connect with people especially those in their teens and 20’s. Communicating electronically is so commonplace now no one even thinks about it. Emails, texts, Instagram, facebook, twitter and apps are all ways that the majority of people are now communicating with each other.

There are many apps out there for those affected by domestic violence. Some are geared towards educating the public about DV, some to help discern if you are in an abusive relationship, others are for medical professionals in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics to help make assessments of DV victims and refer them to resources, and others are focused on safety and/or immediate shelter for victims.

There was actually a challenge back in 2011 from the Department of Health & Human Services and the White House encouraging the development of applications to provide college students and young adults with tools to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault. It had some very good, specific criteria that included check-ins with trusted friends, privacy and safety, and DV resources. It produced two first place winners—OnWatch and Circle of 6—and had over 30 entries, many of which are now on the market.

Here are some apps we have learned about that offer resources, safety plans and tips on how to talk to your children:

Aspire News - ASPIRE News is a free application which contains summaries of top stories in world, sports, and entertainment news, from the When Georgia Smiled: Robin McGraw Foundation. If someone is in an abusive relationship, the Help Section of the application contains resources for victims of domestic violence. * We couldn’t get it, but had reports from one client that it never worked well for them.  

SafeNight - SafeNight provides support to people seeking urgent shelter. The support requests come from trained staff and volunteers at domestic violence service organizations, ensuring best practices for the safety of all individuals are followed.

One Love - An anonymous, free application, the One Love MyPlan determines if a relationship is unsafe and helps to create the best action plan by weighing an individual’s unique characteristics and values. In partnership with, the app provides access to trained advocate support 24/7 through an embedded live chat function.

Love is Not Abuse - Launched in August 2011 by Break the Cycle, the Love is Not Abuse app is an educational resource for parents that demonstrates the dangers of digital dating abuse and provides much needed information on the growing problem of teen dating violence and abuse. It also has an interactive tool that simulates digital dating abuse.

VINE (Victim Information & Notification Everyday) - Allows you to search for offenders that are currently incarcerated in the state. The victim can register to be notified when the offender is released and/or about any upcoming court dates for the offender’s case. So, if a client’s abuser was arrested at their home and the victim came in to shelter, she could register through the VINElink website or app and she would receive notification when the abuser posts bail, etc.

Kitestring - It’s a safe call service. Start a trip on Kitestring (either on the website or via SMS), and we’ll text you later to make sure you’re okay. Reply to the message (or check in on the website) within 5 minutes and all is well. If you don’t check in, we’ll alert a list of emergency contacts that you set up ahead of time. Of course, you can always extend your ETA or check in early.

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