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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

New Hestia app helps those in abusive relationships

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New Hestia app helps those in abusive relationships by providing advice, support and the ability to compile a secret diary of abuse.

Bright sky

Hestia, a London charity and the largest provider of domestic abuse refuge services across the Capital recently launched ‘Bright Sky’ – an app designed for people experiencing domestic abuse or for people concerned about a friend or family member they believe may be experiencing domestic abuse. The app is available on both iOS and Android.

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The app offers advice and information for people concerned about themselves or for concerned others.

People being abused

The app has four distinct sections for people being abused.

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  • Am I at risk? This section provides a 12 step self-assessment questionnaire to help people decide whether they are in an abusive relationship.
  • My journal allows users to record a diary of any abusive behaviour by entering text, taking a photo, sending an image or recording a voice message. This section is well designed as it asks users to set up a secure email address (one that isn’t accessible to the abuser) and emails the diary entry to that account. This means that any coercive abuser who regularly goes through their victim’s phone will not find “incriminating” information. I tested this section myself and found it works efficiently.
  • Nearby help allows users to find the closest support agencies — either the closest to where the phone is located (using GPS)  or through an area or postcode based search.
  • Domestic abuse information gives more general information about domestic abuse including the effects on children, domestic abuse in LGBT relationships and the characterisistics of healthy relationships.

Concerned others

The section entitled “help for someone else” provides a parallel set of resources which helps a concerned person decide whether a family person or friend is at risk; explores mythgs about domestic abuse; provides advice about how to offer help plus access to resources.

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The app also has a one touch button for dialing 999 for emergency help.

Conclusion

In my opinion, this app seems to be very well thought-out and to be a valuable new resource. The name Blue Sky makes it inconspicuous on the phone of someone in an abusive relationship. The next, and most important, stage in its use will be for domestic abuse workers, police officers and social workers to promote the use of the app with individuals in or at risk of abusive relationships.

That is why it is important that the launch of the Bright Sky app ties in with the larger work Hestia are doing to bring about an end to domestic violence and sexual assault across the UK through their campaign named UK SAYS NO MORE. The campaign aim is to dispel common myths and engage would be bystanders on the issue, by making it the responsibility of every UK resident to stand up, take note and take an active step to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Download Bright Sky on iOS

Download Bright Sky on Android

 

If you are interested in working for Hestia, you can find a number of current vacancies on the Jobs Board.

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