The first step towards a life free from violence and fear is often telling someone about your experience and seeking legal, medical, or emotional support. However, HAWC knows that sometimes, reporting abuse and accessing tangible support can be dangerous and scary to abuse victims who fear that their abusers will find out and retaliate. Fortunately, advanced technology and raised awareness about domestic violence has inspired the creation of programs that help seek protections, contact police, keep records, and find resources to be added to your safety plan with one quick app download.
To learn which application best fits your needs, we compiled a list of the latest and greatest domestic violence related apps based on safety, accessibility, cost, and functionality.
If you’re unsure whether you are experiencing abuse, check out:
- iMatter aims to educate young women about abuse and promote self-esteem by offering users interactive quizzes to help them identify abuse.
- Advantage: iMatter is easy to use and features inspirational videos and informational blog posts that are useful at any age.
- Disadvantage: If you need immediate domestic violence support, the “Find Help” section is hard to locate, and 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotlines are not prominently displayed. Of course, you could always call us at our 24-Hour Hotline by dialing 1-800-547-1649.
- One Love MyPlan
- This app attempts to help you assess your relationship with four sections of tests and a danger scale of 0 to 20.
- Advantages: After presenting you with a score, OneLove MyPlan provides you with possible actions to take to protect yourself and your relationship. This app also features 24/7 live chats with advocates if needed. Many languages are offered, and there is a specific section for same-sex intimate relationships.
- Disadvantage: Largely female-focused, the app doesn’t provide support for male-only LGBTQ+ relationships or female on male violence.
- Short for “Recognize, Respond, and Refer,” R3 asks users four simple questions to help them determine whether they are experiencing abuse.
- Advantages: The app was designed for any abuse victim, regardless of gender, and can also be used by domestic violence advocates or healthcare providers. Additionally, it features a search function that allows you to find nearby shelters or other resources.
- Disadvantages: The search function that allows you to find local support is occasionally faulty, incomplete, or unorganized.
If you frequently feel unsafe in your situation, check out:
- Aspire provides abuse victims with a quick way to contact friends and family in dangerous situations. After you program your emergency contacts, you can access the app’s “Help” section and send your support network texts or voice messages to notify them if you feel unsafe.
- Advantages: Aspire appears like a normal social media app, presenting users with a newsfeed upon opening so that any abusers who closely monitor their victim’s phone activity cannot recognize the app’s true function.
- Disadvantage: Because the app appears like a social media app, accessing the “Help” section isn’t as easy as other apps with the same purpose.
- ICE BlackBox
- If you feel unsafe and would like to document your experiences for future legal advocacy, this app allows you to record videos and immediately upload them to the cloud, sending them to your emergency contacts.
- Advantages: Because the videos are uploaded to the cloud, an abuser will be unable to delete it if discovered. You can also call the police with the click of a button, and the app will automatically alert your emergency contacts if you do so.
- SafeTrek was originally made to assist anyone traveling from one place to another in potentially unsafe settings such as dark parking lots, city streets, or college campuses at night. In an unsafe setting, you can hold down the button on your screen; if you release that button, the police are immediately notified.
- Advantages: SafeTrek is relatively easy to use and understand, and if the button gets released by accident, you can cancel the call with a four-digit pin, meaning only you are able to revoke the police notification.
- Disadvantage: While the original download is free, you have to pay $2.99 every month to access it’s features.
Technological progress has made accessing immediate support much easier, safer, and more comprehensive. However, reaching out to a professional advocate is always the best option with regards to abuse, as long as it is safe to do so. HAWC’s 24-Hour Hotline can perform many of the same functions as the apps listed in this article. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, contact 1-800-547-1649 for support or check out HAWC’s Resources page to find other local and national support.
With the exception of Aspire, all the domestic violence applications listed here are very easily identified as domestic violence-related resources. If an abuser frequently monitors phone activity, downloading these apps could prove dangerous. For more information on internet and technological security, explore HAWC’s services pages.