Did you know that nearly one in three women aged 15-49 years have been subjected to some form of physical and/or emotional violence by their partners?
While technological tools (from smart devices to mobile apps) can enable abusers to stalk, exploit, and control their victims, they can also help protect people against domestic violence.
Among the tech-based inspiring initiatives is Gewaltfrei in die Zukunft (Violentfree into the Future).
The project was initiated by Stefanie Knaab, who presented the idea of a camouflage app for women suffering from domestic violence during the German government’s hackathon (which went by the term #WirVsVirus) in 2017.
Now, she’s working together with the Federal Ministry of Justice, law enforcement, the public prosecutor’s office, criminologists, and victim protection to develop and implement the app in a way that can make a real difference.
The app is intended to be a tool for adult women who are affected by intimate partner violence — with mothers being a special target group.
Users will have the opportunity to access important information on domestic abuse as well as report an attack. This way, they can collect evidence such photos of injuries or diary entries, which can be stored in the app in an encrypted form, and can be later used in court.
In the instance of a life-threatening event, women can make an in-app call to the police without actually speaking to them. Alternatively, the app can notify a person they trust.
Plus, users will be provided with essential references to support facilities in case they wish to leave their relationship.
As noted above, the app’s camouflage feature is a crucial element, which can be used even if the abuser has access to the victim’s phone.
Knaab specifically gives no details on what the app looks like, aiming to avoid perpetrators of domestic violence from recognizing it.
The idea is to create a bit of software that’s disguised, but allows women to collect evidence and contact the authorities without being noticed.
For the same reason, the app will have no name.
Currently, the Gewaltfrei in die Zukunft project is in a pilot stage, with the aim to be fully integrated into official structures set up to prevent domestic violence.