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 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.
The 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.