What if downloading an app had the potential to save a life? Well, the new RUSafe App is doing just that. The app was created by Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh (WC&S) to help prevent domestic violence death and injuries by connecting victims, their families, and their friends to domestic violence services.
What is it?
RUSafe is a free dangerous relationship assessment app for Apple and Android that invites the user to answer a series of questions about her/his relationship. The app then calculates the responses and, if there is cause for concern, it will enable the user to directly call our 24-Hour Hotline. If the user is in immediate, lethal danger, she/he can call 911 directly from the app. RUSafe is based on the danger Assessment developed by Jacquelyn C. Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN of John Hopkins School of Nursing.
Women’s Center & Shelter worked with City Council and the City of Pittsburgh Police to bring the Maryland Lethality Assessment Project (LAP) to Pittsburgh. To help ensure effective implementation, WC&S staff was present in the training of nearly 800 Pittsburgh police officers. In other cities, LAP has resulted in a 37% reduction in homicides and 60% reduction in re-assaults. WC&S introduced the app, RUSafe, as an extension of LAP to broaden the impact of this life-saving tool. The RUSafe App was developed by WC&S and Newton Consulting, who generously donated their time and services.
Although RUSafe has just been released, WC&S is already seeing an impact. As of June 11, 2014 there have been 204 downloads of the App, 4 people phoned 911, 12 peopled phoned the Hotline and 102 people went to WC&S’ website to learn more. With your assistance, the impact will be even greater.
How it works:
The app takes the reader through a series of 10 questions, which are:
- Has your partner physically abused you and has the violence increased in severity in the past year?
- Has your partner ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?
- Has your partner threatened to kill you or himself/herself?
- Does your partner ever put his hands around your neck in anger to scare you?
- Do you have a child that is not your partner’s?
- Is your partner unemployed?
- Does your partner abuse alcohol or drugs?
- Has your partner ever beaten you when you were pregnant or threatened to harm your children?
- Does your partner control you daily activities, act jealous, follow or spy on you, send bullying texts or messages, destroy your property, or contact you when you don’t want to be contacted?
- Does your partner force you to have sex when you do wish to do so?
As the user proceeds through the questions, based on the answers, pop-ups will appear to encourage the user to seek help, if necessary. Each time, the messages become a little bit more persistent in nature if the user is not opting to call our Hotline. It ends with an inspirational video from a survivor. If the relationship is healthy it will state this at the end and also give the user the option to learn more at WC&S’ website.
What can you do?
RUSafe is an important tool that is relevant to everyone because 1 in 3 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Whether you have experienced it personally, or have known a family member, friend or colleague—RUSafe can help. The more people who have access and know about RUSafe, the more people can become connected to life-saving resources if they need them. Here is a list of some things you can do to spread awareness about the app.
- Download the app and share it with those you know.
- If your organization has a newsletter put an insert inside about RUSafe. Contact WC&S by email or phone at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-687-8017, ext.338
- Contact WC&S by the above email or phone to request a training/ Lunch and Learn at your place of employment.
- Also you can spread the word about the app on social media using hash tags #RUSafe. Here is an example tweet that you can copy and paste: Save a life and download RUSafe for free-www.wcspittsburgh.org/RUSafe 1 in 3 women experience DV. Be a link to aid @wcspittsburgh #RUSafe?
Stay tuned for an electronic RUSafe toolkit which will be made available on our website!