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Technology has an app to aid sufferers of domestic violence

There are many things that people live with every day, without giving it any real consideration. For the majority of California residents, being safe within the walls of one's own home is taken almost for granted. For those who live with domestic violence, however, this may be a mere dream. This is a subject in which awareness is growing daily.

Technology evolves in leaps and bounds, and one might find it difficult to imagine how it might be of help for those who suffer abuse. What started life as a school assignment by two university students is now a Windows app that is available to download, free of charge, with plans to add it to both the Android and iPhone platforms once it has been finalized. The app is disguised as a working calculator but has links to the Microsoft Cloud that enables it to store and hide all audio and visual evidence that one may be able to record. This way, if the phone is confiscated or damaged by an abusive spouse, the evidence remains safe and intact.

All one needs to do in order to access the true nature of the app is to enter the correct PIN. But one of the beauties of this app is the ability to send a panic text without arousing suspicion. Activated by a simple voice command, a text can be sent to a predetermined number. For example, a "help me" text could be sent to a trusted friend or family member, who may be able to respond far quicker than having the victim risk making a call to the police. Once the immediate threat is overcome, it leaves the way clear for legal assistance to be sought.

No California resident need live with the effects of domestic violence, but it can be very difficult to extricate oneself from such an environment. This app may give one much needed courage to begin the process of seeking legal assistance, by arming him or her with evidence. It may be possible to put a restraining order in place, while law enforcement agencies determine whether criminal charges may be brought against the abuser. This may allow victims enough space in which to seek appropriate advice and guidance on how best to proceed in order to safeguard against further attacks.

Source: ualr.edu, "App developers seek to empower victims of domestic violence", Keli Jacobi, March 18, 2015

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