Is There an App for That? Understanding the complexities of apps in gender-based service provision and survivor safety planning

11/06/2019 - 13:45 to 11/06/2019 - 15:15
Proposal(Workshop / Presentation)
Coordinating organization: 
National Network to End Domestic Violence (US)
Emerging Issues
Organization Name: 
Organization Introduction: 
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), a social change organization, is dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists.
Proposer: safetynet-usa
Describe your workshop/presentation (300-500 words): 
There are apps for ordering food, playing games, fitness tracking, and reading books. Apps have made life easier for the everyday user. The simplicity and ease that most apps provide allows survivors to reach an emergency contact without alerting the perpetrator, use a chat or text line to receive advocacy services, or download information on healthy relationships.

The number of mobile applications and services created to support survivors of gender-based violence have exploded across the world. Survivors are offered a wide range of support via mobile apps, from reaching out to emergency contacts discretely, to using a mobile app to document and store evidence of abuse, to educational and prevention awareness information. Victim service agencies are being asked by technology developers to provide input and support for these apps while also responding to survivors who ask which app to use to enhance their safety.

This two-part workshop will first provide an overview of the various safety apps by highlighting research findings from a researcher that examined more than 215 anti-rape or anti-sexual violence apps. We will debate the usefulness of these apps for survivors and what survivors should consider when wanting to use a safety app as part of their safety planning strategies. These considerations include safety for the survivor, privacy and security of the app, and potential risks from abusers when using these apps.

In part two, we will discuss the role of victim-service agencies in promoting, implementing, or using safety apps. It can be a great challenge for agencies that do not understand the technology or the benefits and risks of using safety apps. There are critical questions to ask and consider, and unique advice for how survivors can use these apps safely and effectively. We will talk about co-design to showcase good development practices and highlight apps that incorporate survivor center practice.

And finally, we will offer suggestions and advice on how safety apps should be developed with careful considerations of the unique privacy and safety needs of survivors. Safety app development should include victim-service providers and survivors as key stakeholders to ensure that the apps are useful, safe, and do not cause unintentional harm. 1800RESPECT are the creators of the Sunny App. Based in Australia, the Sunny app supports people with disability who have been impacted by violence and abuse, to understand violence, know their rights and reach out for support.

1800RESPECT co-developed Sunny with an expert advisory group of women with disability to ensure that the app for people with disability was designed by people with disability. 1800RESPECT will speak about their inclusive and robust development process, how their app is being utilized across their country, and lessons they learned when developing a service provision app.
All Speakers:
Rachel Gibson