'It’s a starting place': New app aims to help women in violent relationships
LONDON, ONT -- For women facing violence from their intimate partner, reaching out for help or information may at times seem impossible, however a new app could help to change that.
The app called myPlan Canada was co-developed at Western University in London, Ont. An American version was developed in partnership with Johns Hopkins University.
The app is an interactive safety app that can help women asses their risks, set priorities and plant next steps.
A woman suffering from abuse can input her specific experiences or circumstances and the app with walk them through a plan to protect their safety and health.
“The purpose of myPlan is to give women space and time to think about their situation, to think about their options. It’s a starting place,” said Canadian project lead Marilyn Ford-Gilboe.
According to Ford-Gilboe just 1 in 5 women experiencing partner violence ever connects with a service such as a helpline or shelter.
The application is meant to augment, not replace, already existing social, police, legal, and medical services available.
It has certain safe guards to protect from unwanted snooping, for example users can click on a quick exit button that leads to a generic Google-search page.
“There isn’t anything as interactive or personalized as this,” Ford-Gilboe said. “It’s one of the few apps that has been tested through research.”
Services such as the app have become increasingly important during the pandemic as women are more isolated and potentially more vulnerable to abuse.
The free app, available on Apple and Android, is available throughout Canada and includes location-specific resources customized for every province and territory.