‘Stop the Violence’ app for victims of domestic violence
Stop the Violence’ app to help victims of domestic violence is available in Russia
The mobile app ‘Stop the Violence’ not only helps women facing violence, but can also find a way out of critical situations and save lives. The app allows users to communicate their coordinates and call on loved ones to help.
The ‘Stop the Violence’ project’s mobile app was created for women facing domestic violence, but can also be used by anyone in a potentially dangerous situation, such as while travelling by taxi or walking down a dark street.
The app allows a user to create a database of people who, in case of need, will be sent a message calling for help and giving the user’s location. The telephone numbers and email addresses of five trusted contacts can be listed. A default emergency message is provided, or users can write the text themselves.
In the event of danger, the user should press the ‘Help’ button within the app or on the ‘Notifications’ screen of their smartphone.
‘Stop the Violence’ also lists all the necessary information on crisis centres in Russia, both private and state run, and can construct a route to the nearest of these.
“Due to a lack of readily accessible information, women spend weeks or even months finding basic details about where to appeal for help. The ‘Stop the Violence’ app solves this problem, providing all the necessary contacts, and also automatically planning a route to the nearest crisis centre. This information is vital. For those whose loved ones encounter the problem of domestic violence, crisis centre specialists can provide advice on how best to behave in certain situations”, says Anna Pivina, one of the founders of the ‘Stop the Violence’ project.
Funding for the ‘Stop the Violence’ app was collected through a charity hen party, whose organisers included the lawyer, singer and trustee of the Downside Up foundation Amariya Rye. She has already raised the subject of domestic violence in her song and video ‘My Escape’.
Amariya, who was herself a victim of domestic violence during her first marriage, intends to install the app on her and her family’s smartphones. What began as a project in support of victims of domestic violence is, she says, becoming a universal tool to ensure personal safety.
“Of course, there are critics. Among those are people who say things like: ‘Is writing a message in advance not programming an act of aggression? Could you not just walk away from the tyrant?’ There are plenty of circumstances which make leaving difficult. However, it is possible to call for help in an emergency”, emphasises Amariya Rye. “Then there is the question of what those who receive the signal should do. Here is the choice: step in themselves or go to the police. There are no identical situations. In the second of these, to ensure an adequate reaction by law enforcement officials it is necessary to act with the consent of the victim. It may help to call a lawyer who can clearly communicate to the police that the individual wishes to leave immediately. In the future it would be logical to adopt a law on domestic violence, in which the most effective measure would be a restraining order prohibiting contact with the victim for a specified period of time. And then, perhaps, before using his fists, the aggressor would consider whether he would be comfortable on the street, and people far removed from the problem would stop asking ‘why is she not leaving him’. The one to go should be the one who commits the criminal act”, believes Amariya.
At the end of 2015 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation presented a draft law in the State Duma on the introduction of administrative liability for assault, threats of murder or grievous bodily harm. In June 2016 the Duma adopted a law on the decriminalisation of a number of articles of criminal legislation: assault, wilful refusal to pay child support, the use of obvious false documents and petty theft. But violence against persons including family members and those cohabiting with someone who has shown aggression remains a criminal offence.
Author: Irina Laktyushina