With the tap of an app

Call the police. How many times are victims told to do this? Questioned as to why they didn’t? Call the police. Three words, very simple words. They don’t take much to utter, only four syllables.

Victims are in a difficult position when it comes to calling the police. They have to get access to a phone, which isn’t the easiest of things to do when you are trying to outrun a knife or a fist or a flying dining room chair, and it’s often not until the attack is over that the victim has the freedom and window of safety to contact the cops, and, many times, by this point it seems there is no point. 

Even when the victim is able to call the police, they are forced to talk, outloud, about what just happened. This isn’t always possible to do if the abuser is within earshot. There are now two good smartphone apps, available for FREE, that have the potential to do this for the victim.

One is a big red panic button, adeptly named Panic Mate, and is an Android app. The other is more discreet, appearing as a news feed powered by Yahoo! called The Aspire News App and is available for Android and iPhone devices from When Georgia Smiled – The Robin McGraw Revelation Foundation.

Panic MatePanic Mate is marketed to anyone who may find themselves in trouble, so it’s appropriate for people who walk through a dark and empty parking lot to get to their car on a nightly basis as well as for victims of chronic violence. It offers two emergency options – Call Back and Panic. Both will send a pre-defined message including your current location to up to five emails and five phone numbers.

By activating the Call Back feature, the pre-set contacts will be sent a message by email or text or both asking that they call you. By activating the Panic feature, the pre-set contacts will be sent a message by email or text or both telling them you are in immediate danger. The downside for domestic violence victims is the glaring red button that screams I’m a Help Me App.

Aspire NewsThe Aspire News App was developed specifically for domestic violence victims and includes an educational program in addition to the safety features. It displays as a compilation of news stories – World News, Local News, Entertainment News – but, like Panic Mate, it has a feature to send pre-set contacts, including the police, a pre-defined text or voice message alerting people that you are in danger, as well as a recording feature to capture evidence of an attack underway or the aftermath. This is cleverly hidden in the open under the Help button. It requires the user tap the help screen three times to send the automated messages, minimizing the chance for a false alert.

There are several apps like these. Panic Mate and Aspire News are free, functional, and operate with no advertisements. They’re reliable and well-reviewed. They’re not perfect, and they are not replacements for calling 911, but they are a good partner in the fight for safety for people living with violence.  

Panic Mate – available on the Google Play Store
Aspire News – available on the Google Play Store
Aspire News – available on iTunes


  1. Excellent! Thank you so very much for posting this. Ladies and gentlemen, if you live under dangerous situations, you need one of these apps! I posted this to FB as “public”.

    1. Wonderful! Thank you for posting this to FB.

    2. Would you be interested in doing a guest post here? This is a community space for anyone who can and wants to share a piece of their experience with domestic violence.

  2. I really want to make an app called something like “Is This Abuse?”. The idea would be that you could submit an incident to a “database”, which would return “Yes, this is abuse.” Because, if you have anything to submit, it’s abuse. No need for an actual database. If you are worried about your situation enough that you are going to ask someone for advice on whether or not you’re seeing abuse, you are.

    1. I should add that it wouldn’t just be a gag. When it says “yes”, it would provide you with a list of resources around your location.

      1. I like this idea. It’s so simple, and could really help. You’re right, if they have to ask, it’s abuse, but having that validated is worth it’s weight in gold and having resources sent immediately and also available at the touch of a button could do so much good.

        1. I think we need to do it. Do we just google “how to make an app”?

          1. Oh surely there’s a google answer to that question, or a 9 year old somewhere who could do it.

  3. Wow! Great information.

    1. Thanks! I could have used something like this. I still can. Even though nothing has happened at any of the exchanges, it would be smart to have this available for when something does happen.

    1. I think so too. It’s a great way to “sneak” in a call for help at a time when calling for help can be more dangerous than enduring the abuse.

  4. These are great. Thanks for spreading the information on them.

    1. Thank you! I think the first one is good for everyone. Violence can happen to anyone anywhere. I think the second one has real potential for dv victims, especially that it can notify police and take a recording of the event.

  5. Yay technology! I called the police and it didn’t do much good. They couldn’t arrest him, but they did hold him for public drunkenness overnight which allowed me to formulate a plan.

    1. I’m glad you got time to put together a plan. The cops didn’t do shit for me, but things may have turned out different had I had a recording of the attack, or right after the attack, and that would have changed things.

      1. Yes. If we had the technology then that we have now, my story might have been different.

        1. Many of our stories could have been different. Now more stories can be.

  6. Bob, the Dad of a Daughter of abuse. · · Reply

    “available for Android and iPhone devices from When Georgia Smiled – The Robin McGraw Revelation Foundation.”

    If ya don’t know it, Robin is the wife of Dr. Phil. I think ALL DV victims SHOULD have these available to them for not IF, but WHEN they need it.

  7. avatarinstructordesintesis · · Reply
  8. Thank you so much for this information!! I still know women who are in abusive relationships, both physical and psychological, who would definitely be interested in hearing about these apps. I do realize that sometimes the abuser has control of the victim’s personal phone, too, but this will still help..

    1. The abuser still having control over the phone is why I like the Aspire News App, because on the surface it looks like a regular list of news stories. I hope the people you share this with find a sense of security. That’s so important.

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