Tuesday 23 July 2019

Vodafone launches app to empower victims of domestic abuse

Markus Krug

A new app aims to provide information and help for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Bright Sky, which will launch this Friday, was developed by The Vodafone Foundation together with Women’s Aid Ireland, An Garda Siochána and UK-based charity Hestia.

“We wanted to make information and connections available to a large number of people. The app contains a number of functions set to give victims the opportunity to make an informed decision on what is best for them,” said Natalie Hodgess, Vodafone Ireland Foundation Manager.

One of the features within Bright Sky will be a questionnaire set to help the user asses the safety of the relationship that they are in.

“It is basically a risk assessment tool. A lot of people don’t understand that they are in an abusive relationship. It will give you an independent understanding of your individual situation,” said John Liversidge, Bright Sky Project Manager.

The app then gives examples for different kinds of abusive behaviour, in order for the user to further compare these examples to their own situation and gain deeper understanding.

An entire section of Bright Sky is also dedicated towards awareness for sexual consent and harassment; using case studies and explaining the legal grounds behind them.

“Additionally the app contains tools to show the user how to keep the contents of their phone and social media safe from the people abusing them.

“Bright Sky also has a section on recording evidence of the abuse. That includes photographs, texts, voice recordings and so on. It is all password protected for the victim and the data is not stored on the phone,” said Mr Liversidge.

A national directory and series of videos on how and where to get help are also part of the app.

Mr Liversidge added: “It might often seem like there is no way out. Bright Sky can show people that there is help out there for them. You just need to reach out and grab it.”

The app follows the recent launch of Vodafone Ireland’s new workplace policy for victims of domestic abuse.

“The policy includes additional days of paid leave, financial support as well as counselling. Our managers are also trained to provide the right support for victims.

“It was introduced after research had shown that that 31pc of Irish workers had identified as having suffered from some form of domestic abuse or violence,” said Ms Hodgess.

The study, commissioned by the Vodafone Foundation, showed that of those who experienced abuse during their working life, 63pc felt safer at work compared to home and 67pc said they could be themselves at work, but not at home.

After its release in Ireland on Friday, Bright Sky will be available in 10 different countries, with more set to follow.

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