Domestic violence is a common problem across the U.S. According to statistics from The National Domestic Violence Hotline, as many as 1 in 4 men and 1 in 3 women will experience some form of domestic abuse at some point in their lives. Domestic abuse can take a number of forms - it can be physical, emotional, psychological or sexual. The abuse is typically, but by no means exclusively, committed by partners in intimate relationships, and as the above statistics indicate, women are more likely to be victims, although men can be victimized too. It should also be stressed that domestic abuse doesn't just occur in romantic relationships - abuse can occur between parents and children and family members/caregivers and the elderly.
Apps can help
In a similar vein to electronic health records and telemedicine, smartphone app are improving healthcare and improving patient outcomes. There are now countless apps that can help people manage chronic conditions such as cancer and diabetes. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that there are now smartphone platforms which address the public health concern that is domestic violence. Review the guide below to five apps that can help individuals experiencing the issue:
1. One Love
Designed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, in collaboration with the One Love Foundation, this app enables users to determine if they are in an abusive relationship, or if the relationship they are currently in carries a risk of turning abusive, the Daily Beast explained. An assessment on the safety of a relationship is made after users answer an a range of questions in a survey. The app is then able to rate the danger level from low to extreme. In addition to providing this assessment, the app can then be used to create a 'safety plan.' In this context, a safety plan is a strategy of action that users can implement after an incident of abuse. It may be heading to a women's shelter, for example, or to a trusted friend or family member who can notify authorities. Another important feature of the app is the live chat, which users can activate to talk to a member of LoveisRespect.org for further advice.
Dr. Glass, a researcher behind the One Love app, elaborated on its importance in a discussion with the Daily Beast. He said:
"Safety planning is a widely advocated intervention to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence, yet the vast majority of women in abusive relationships never access safety planning services in formal settings, such as shelters and safe houses, health care clinics, or the criminal justice system. Our goal is to increase women's access to safety planning by integrating evidence based tools that make use of appropriate technology, such as the My Plan app, a safety decision aid for women in an unsafe relationship."
2. Sojourner Peace app
Available to download for free and designed by the Sojourner Family Peace Center, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, this app is ideal for individuals looking for vital resources in the aftermath of domestic violence. As detailed by Government Technology, the app provides users with the contact details for law services, charities, emergency care services and so on. Those experiencing domestic violence can use the app while developing a plan of action for leaving the relationship, as well as in the aftermath, when legal, financial and custodial issues may arise.
3. Aspire News
Many individuals experiencing domestic violence will often feel too unsafe to locate resources that can help - for example, maybe they are concerned that their partner will look at their phone or internet history. That's why the Aspire News app is so effective, because it helps hide important information. According to Salon, the platform looks like a daily news site, but carefully hidden in the 'help' section is a list of resources for domestic violence victims. The resources can be notified via a simple click of a button, making it easier than ever to get help in an emergency situation. The source stressed, however, that 911 should always be called in situations that present extreme risk.