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Western-developed app to help women dealing with abuse

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A new app co-designed by Western University researchers looks to help women dealing with intimate partner violence.

"The inspiration really came from understanding this gap that exists between support needs and not necessarily knowing where to go for help or facing other barriers in getting help,” explained Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, Western professor and the app’s team lead.

The free and secure, bilingual app called "iHeal" aims to help Canadian women find ways to stay safe and healthy.

Western says more than 40 per cent of Canadian women experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lives.

But due to fear, accessibility, and worries about confidentiality, only 20 per cent of women access formal services.

Even beyond that, if they live in a rural community, there just may not be services available, and so wanting to give women some control over their options and what their plan might be, knowing that their needs might be quite different,” she added.

"iHeal" includes advice for safe housing, childcare, finances, legal options and more.

It touches on the effects of abuse – even after a woman is no longer facing partner abuse.

The app also helps family and friends better understand the situation and how to support a victim.

The app can be downloaded on any phone or accessed online at iHealapp.ca.

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