Following the lockdown, domestic violence and abuse have increased massively. Governments worldwide have failed to provide more accurate action in protecting victims of domestic abuse during the pandemic. The increase of domestic abuse is a public health crisis. At the same time, we need to address the responsibility of the abuser, educating and raising awareness about domestic violence, inviting individuals to learn more about their own behaviour towards one another and their social implication.
What it does
The app starts working with a warning that is sent to all mobile devices from any local Justice department. This warning invites the user to take part in an anonymous questionnaire. The user needs to answer different questions, concerning their physical and psychological well-being. Considering the score at the end of the questionnaire, the app is able to evaluate the user's behaviour. Following, based on the mentioned score, the user gets a psychological report regarding your risk of imminent abuse in your relationship. Detailed information related to domestic abuse follows. The data from the questionnaire is saved, so a progression can be analyzed by the user. The user is, herewith, actively invited to take part in activities, aimed to deal with anger management issues and suggestions about how to coordinate and organize daily life - especially in times of confinement - are given. The features include exercise, breathing, medidation, keeping a diary, resources and tools to evacuate your anger. The user can select any and as many of these features and set daily reminders and evaluations, keeping track of progress. When first using the app, the individual will be connected to a mental health counsellour, with whom weekly appointments can be arranged. In case that the user, based on the questionnaire, qualifies as an likely abuser, a virtual appointment will be made and progession in the app will be documented. An electronic clinical file (profile) will be created and encrypted - enabling the analysis of progress of the user under confidentially norms applicable. Additionally, the user has the opportunity to chat with other users anonymously via group chat, monitored by a Therapist. The app features an alarm button, which is triggered by continuous yelling, inducing either a ringtone (fire alarm volume). This feature aims to detract the user from the actual fight and de-escalate the momentum of anger.
How I built it
The main focus for us during this Hackathon was to fully develop the concept of the app itself. Details concerning its implementation could not be fully examined. For the concept of the app we have used prototyping tools like app.landen.co. For a clickable website we have used app.adalo.co, creating a dummy for our project.
Challenges I ran into
One of the main problems we have faced was the definition of a cohesive questionnaire that could respond accordingly to the information provided by the user. The app needs to be able to evaluate behaviour consistently and herewith provide awareness and professional guidance to the user. Alongside, we have discussed profoundly the social impact that the discussion about domestic abuse has. There seems to be a big element of shame in dealing with the victim and, consequently, addressing the position of the abuser. Unfortunately, providing care and protection for the victims is solely one part of the cicle of abuse. Usually, abusers do not receive any mental support. Legal and clinical intervention happen too late in most cases.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are incredibly proud to have built this idea and, during the process of the hackathon, to have met the app developers of BrightAct. We have connected our goals and ambitions right away. At the same time, we do feel proud of putting an essential idea out there, especially in times of high uncertainty for many people worldwide.
What I learned
We have learnt that the problem of domestic abuse is way much more complicated and layered as we have intially thought. There are many elements that play a decisive role in this matter. Starting from substance abuse to stress related to financial uncertainty, there are uncountable factors that can unfortunately contribute to abusive behaviour. The COVID-19 Pandemic has worsened massively this situation, impeding victims to search for help because of imposed lockdowns or fear of contrating the virus and adding another element of stress over individuals. The only way to tackle this is using digital technology as an instrument to connect with people directly during imminent crisis such as the pandemic.
What's next for RELOVE -THE WARNING APP
We strongly believe that we have an unique product in our hands. We would appreciate to team up with specialists in different areas such as Psychology, Data science and Social Work, cooperating for the creation and construction of the app's architecture. We will contact different organizations that deal with domestic abuse in different countries of the EU, aiming at receiving feedback and presenting them our idea. Alongside, we will be in talks with local enforcement departments, specifically Justice department officials, informing them of the relevance of this issue on a national and international scale.