Vice President Biden yesterday called on developers to put together a mobile app to help prevent violence against young women with the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge.
Women aged 16-24 are most at risk for rape and sexual assault, with 1 in 5 young women assaulted during college. In most cases the assailant is known to the victim, and the victims typically turn to friends to help. The White House says that while more than 75 percent of young people believe it’s important to intervene on behalf of a friend who has been assaulted, more than half don’t know what to do or to whom they can turn for help.
The app envisioned by the administration will contain social networking features similar to Foursquare and Facebook, where a group of trusted friends share their whereabouts and who they’re with. It would also provide a means to prevent an assault in the first place by notifying the network if the user finds themselves in a dangerous situation.
Developers have until Oct. 17, 2011, to submit their applications to the Department of Health and Human Services. While no monetary prizes will be awarded, the top applications will “recognized and celebrated” by the department. For more information visit the Apps Against Abuse challenge page.
The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence also is trying to reach teens through its iPhone and Android application called td411. While the CCADV app lacks the social networking features proposed in the HHS challenge, it does provides information as well as interactive quizzes for teens to use to assess their current relationships and get help if needed. A web version of the application along with links to the iPhone and Android versions can be found on the td411 website. There also is a td411 Facebook page.