The threat of domestic abuse in Ireland is on the rise, this app aims to help
Brought to you by The Vodafone Ireland Foundation
As lockdown number two rumbles on, it's important to remember that, as tough as we may find it, there are people out there who are truly suffering while being restricted to their homes. Statistics show that there was a 43% increase in calls to Women's Aid during the last lockdown and the situation was deemed to be at 'epidemic levels' by the Taoiseach.
Meanwhile, in the last week, Gardai have renewed their focus on domestic violence following an 18% increase in crisis calls since last year. The new phase of Operation Faoiseamh will focus on the enforcement of court orders and the prosecution of offenders. Gardaí have also said they will continue to contact victims to offer local and relevant support.
But would you know how to spot the signs of domestic violence or abuse?
The Vodafone Ireland Foundation have teamed up with An Garda Síochána and Women's Aid to develop the Bright Sky Ireland app — it is free and provides support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship, or those who are concerned about someone they know.
A first-of-its-kind in Ireland, the app has some helpful features, for example, it enables users to locate their nearest support centre by searching their area, postcode or current location and gives them access to a range of useful tools and supports. It has a short questionnaire to help users assess the safety of a relationship while also providing information about different forms of abuse such as sexual violence, stalking, and harassment.
The app also contains a ground-breaking feature to log incidents of domestic abuse without any content being saved on the device itself. This feature has enabled users to record incidents in a secure digital journal, using a text, audio, video or photo function. Evidence collated through this function will also enable Gardaí to intervene and can help secure prosecutions.
Domestic violence and abuse are very common in Ireland. If you think you might be in danger or know someone who is, the Bright Sky Ireland app can help direct you to the right support. Only download Bright Sky Ireland onto a device which you feel safe using, and which only you have access to.