Our Google Slides Presentation:

There has been a significant increase in domestic violence since the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelters that house the victims are at capacity and the social workers that keep track of the victims and their children are stretched thin. Even after COVID-19 and shelter-in-place ends, the survivors will generally stay at the shelter from 6 months up to 1 year. And there are more survivors who will need shelter.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children. Securing an emergency shelter is the lifeline for many survivors.

This will always be an important issue before, during, and after COVID-19.

What it does

Peace is a website designed to help survivors get immediate access to local shelters and contact loved ones discreetly about being in a dangerous situation without leaving a record on their own phones.

How we built it

  • Designed prototypes and mock-ups on Figma
  • Deployed the Gatsby front-end to Vercel and the Node.js/Express server to DigitalOcean
  • Twilio's API used to message emergency contacts
  • PostgreSQL used to locally store collected domestic violence resource information

Challenges we ran into

  • Unsure about interviewing domestic violence survivors during a short amount of time.
  • Too many edge cases with the behavior of the abuser.
  • If the victim doesn’t have a credit card or any form of payment, how will they pay for a temporary reprieve (hotel, airbnb, etc.) if shelters are at max capacity?
  • How can we help non tech-savvy users get help (legal or otherwise) during a time of quarantine, as well as without being monitored by their abuser?
  • How to quickly connect the survivor to a local shelter, since the operations and information about that shelter are not public knowledge (a social worker must connect the survivor).
  • How to keep user information safe and confidential.
  • How to hide the search history/erase records of searching for help.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Working together as a team for something we believe in.

What we learned

  • Creating Accessibility
  • Financial constraints
  • Protection of the User
  • Current issues survivors are going through (technology issues, accessibility issues, record keeping issues) when trying to get legal help, due to COVID and quarantine
  • Using Gatsby to build the front-end
  • Using PostgreSQL for the database

What's next for Peace

  • Booking hotels for DV survivors escaping their homes as a temporary reprieve, especially if all nearby shelters are at capacity.
  • Connecting the survivor with a lawyer and knowing their legal rights.
  • Localization features: changing language packs based on the user's preferred language.
  • Creating a financial planner page to assist in the survivor's safety planning.
  • Expanding the database to include international resources.
  • Adding more disguise pages to the website to cycle through.
  • Including a panic button, which immediately notifies a social worker or the authorities.
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