New technology app to fight domestic violence

The State Government has formed an alliance with software developers and a telecommunications giant to build a new smartphone ‘Bystander’ application to help Queenslanders unite and stop domestic and family violence.

Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Minister Di Farmer said the app would show how to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship of a loved one and give advice on intervening in a safe, proactive way.

“With one sixth of women and one sixteenth of men over the age of 15 experiencing domestic and family violence, the chances are we all know somebody living with violence,” Ms Farmer said.

“Government can’t go it alone on domestic and family violence, we all have a responsibility as bystanders to help.  

“Many people experiencing violence often don’t know where to turn, so we’re putting technology to work to make identifying and reporting domestic violence as a bystander much easier.

“The majority of domestic violence bystanders want to help out but often don’t know how to get started.

“We all have a part to play in ending domestic and family violence. If you see it, hear it, or suspect it, report it.

“And, that’s how the Bystander app is designed to help.

The app’s concept was brought to the recent Queensland Virtual Summit by the MATE Bystander program.

MATE Bystander spokesperson Shaan Ross-Smith said the app would be the first of its kind to empower bystanders to domestic and family violence to act.

“We all know of somebody who has been affected in some way by domestic violence and we all want to know what we can do to help,” she said.

“The app will empower bystanders with the information they need to make informed decisions and intervene in safe and respectful ways.”  

Telstra’s Queensland Government business general manager Gaven Nicholls said Telstra was proud to provide the technology and digital expertise for such an important cause.

“Telstra is committed to making a positive difference in the community for those affected by domestic and family violence,” Mr Nicholls said.

Input for the app has also come following conversation with Hannah Clarke’s friends and family.

“Hannah’s death and the tragic loss of her three beautiful children broke the hearts of Queenslanders and many around the world,” Ms Farmer said.

“By uniting with the Bystander app we’re helping others to recover from COVID-19 and the problems the pandemic has brought for people living at home with violence.”

Development of the app starts this month.

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