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Domestic violence app assesses the potential danger of a relationship

Campus Correspondent

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 23:12

This September, the One Love Foundation, established by the mother and sister of the UVA lacrosse player Yeardley Love who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2010, released a free and anonymous Domestic Violence App that makes it impossible to ignore the very real threat of relationship abuse. It is specifically part of their “Be 1 for Change” initiative that serves to educate, create awareness and provide resources for people 16-24 years old.

The app can be used by individuals, both male and female, in a potentially abusive relationship, or by concerned friends and family. The program asks twenty questions and then based on the answers, makes an assessment on the level of danger. Sample questions include: Does he own a gun? During the past year, have you left him or broken up with him after living together, having sex, or being a couple? Is he violently or constantly jealous of you, for instance saying, “If I can’t have you, no one can.”?
Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is the app’s chief creator, developing the danger assessment tool and making it 98 percent accurate. As a result of her work, she has been named among 50 global heroes dedicated to ending sexual violence by Safe magazine.

Coordinator of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Suzanne FitzGerald explains, “One of the things we found through research from people who work in this area, is when a woman recognized what kind of danger she’s in, she’s more likely to seek assistance.” After the questionnaire, users will be given resources and advice, including a 24-hour live chat provided by partner LoveIsRespect.org, or ways to positively intervene and get potential victims the help they deserve. The One Love Foundation believes the app can make the crucial difference of whether or not a victim will seek help.

The app’s main appeal is its ability to privately and discretely ask difficult questions that individuals may not feel comfortable answering in an open conversation. The stigma and invisibility of the issue, in addition to the plain fear of abused partners, oftentimes prevents domestic violence from being addressed face to face. Family and friends of past victims believe an app like this would have been life changing, allowing them to identify just how severe the relationship abuse was and take the necessary steps before it was too late.

Connie Moore, the executive director of The Alexandra House also endorses the app, and like many organizations dedicated to supporting battered women, plans to educate and inform people about the app in months to come.

“We find that abused women underestimate the risk of homicide,” Dr. Campbell told Fox. In fact, as high as one in three women have once been, or are, victims of domestic abuse. The One Love Foundation hopes to get the word out to college students, especially with the upcoming winter recess where individuals may be spending even more time with an abusive partner.  

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