Apps Against Abuse

Apps Against Abuse | The White House

Ok, so there are only 2 WH sponsored apps for victims of intimate partner violence to reach out to their support network with a few clicks, and they’re both iPhone (we shall not go there here), but at least there are 2.

These apps resulted from a competition sponsored by Vice President Joe Biden calling on technology innovators to provide a means for victims to stay close with a network of supportive friends, family, and law enforcement with as few clicks as possible.

Vice President Biden’s focus is on dating violence in the early dating years of 16-24, but his efforts could extend to the entire community: we just need the entire community to know, instead of just the college community.

I don’t have an iPhone, so I can’t say if these apps work off-campus (but I hope so). Both are available for download, and have been for 8 months. I catch up with these things quickly, can’tcha tell?

Hello World: the programmers first program

I have an Andriod, so I consulted the Play Store. Surely one of the hundreds of losing submissions tweaked their code to work on the Android platform.I don’t believe anyone takes on this kind of project without either A.) a true desire to shape the future of spousal, dating, stranger, and sexual abuses; or B.) a true desire for accomplishment. Either way, not getting their name pulled out of the VP’s purse wouldn’t deter everyone, and plenty haven’t the desire to take No for an answer (note: this is an example of a good don’t-take-no-for-an-answer, unlike the actions the apps are meant to prevent…).

It’s not an easy task. Even these 2 WH apps don’t have names that shout Use Me To Report Abuse and Rape. I plugged in different search terms and vaious versions of terms. Not everything I found is a crime reporting app, but they can each help you stay safe in their own way. These are United States specific apps.

Here’s what I found:

  • Neighborhood Watch Mobile App, John Matthews: $1.99 “enables citizens to report crimes, suspicious activities and community disorder… [and] has dynamic reporting capabilities including options to add photos and text to reports… Linked to a proprietary database of law enforcement agencies from throughout the country”
  • CrimePush Security, CrimePush: FREE “Featured in Forbes, Police Magazine, and ABC News…as the leading innovator in reporting crimes to authorities and sending automated distress messages to family and friends.” Send distress messages with GPS location at the push of a button, check-in with concerned family and friends, report crimes with GPS embedded image, video, audio, and descriptions, and shake your phone for shake-alert to automatically initiate a 911 call. Not every zip code is supported yet, and not every police station recognizes CrimePush reports. Check the zip code list in the Terms and Conditions, or contact your local police station and ask if they support CrimePush. If not, ask what mobile crime app they do recognize, and if they don’t ask them when they will.
  • MobileTracker, HomeSoft: FREE allows a smartphone owner to SMS location or allow predetermined contacts to request location. Support network contacts can use any phone, smart or not, to request your location should you fail to arrive.
  • SafeRoute, SafeRoute: $0.99 crime statistics and safety levels for every city in the US through GPS enabled locationing; areas listed as safe, moderate, or dangerous with links to types of crimes reported in that area.
  • PhoneBeagle Recorder & Client, PhoneBeagle: FREE demo, registration required for full version: designed for parent’s to monitor their child’s cell phone use, prevent talking/texting/surfing while driving, and block website and phone numbers. The benefit for the abuse victim is the GPS and Phone Location feature, as well as the hidden icon and uninstall protection.

Nothing replaces the good, old-fashioned 911 phone call, but that option isn’t always safe. In cases of domestic violence or sexual assault, victims may not be capable of calling 911, may not feel safe calling 911, and may not believe 911 will even do anything but make it worse. In cases of domestic violence or sexual assault, victims need confidentiality, support, and resources. These apps are a step in the right direction.

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7 comments

  1. Great post. I work in the technology sector specifically as a contractor for federal health agencies like CDC, FDA, NIH, etc. We recently created a women’s health app using HTML 5, which can be used on all smart phone devices. The only reason WH probably chose an iPhone native app is because of cost OR the demographics of iPhone users. The majority of women who have smart phone have iPhones. And the majority of women who download apps are iPhone users. Personally, I think the WH could have afforded to create a native app for both iPhone and Android and also an HTML 5 app for all other smart phones including Blackberries. I would consider writing the WH. I’ll write. 🙂

    1. I agree the WH probably chose the Apple platform since is it a well known name and a well used technology. It’s recognizable and popular, so it probably had the best chance of success, both in creation and use.
      Apple is Apple, but oranges can report crimes too. I get the importance of educating college women. I wish I had been because I met my abuser in college. College men, and everyone else in this world, could use a bit of education right along with our college ladies.
      Bystanders are the key to stopping abuse, and not every bystander has an Apple. Right now, people see abuse, get uncomfortable, ask ‘what business is it of mine?’, and generally leave the situation at status quo. I was happy to find some apps that can be used to report abuse on the Android platform.
      I need to find out about Blackberry (I didn’t think about it the other day, and I don’t know any Blackberry owners…maybe I can google it?).
      I think writing the WH is a good idea…along with one specifically to VP Biden, and the Congresspeople signing their names with his to end domestic abuse. I’ll write too.

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