Last year the White House ran an “Apps Against Abuse” Challenge to Help Address Sexual Assault and Dating Violence. The apps “Circle of 6” and “On Watch” were the two winning apps out of 30 submitted applications. Both apps are set to be released early this year, and we’re hoping we’ll see them in the next month or two!
What On Watch 6 says about their App:
“Protect yourself, Provide support, Promote respect
OnWatch is a mobile app designed to help young adults–those most at risk for sexual violence and dating abuse–protect themselves and provide support to their peers, by instantly and discreetly connecting them to the people they trust when they need it most. In just two taps, a user can transmit critical information–by phone, email, text, and social media–to their own support network, emergency services and Campus Police.
With five alert modes, seven alarm sounds and a flashlight, OnWatch is a highly customizable app that offers a safety net for the “what ifs” of life. The app also provides links (under the Resources button) to sexual assault, dating violence and domestic abuse hotlines. A corresponding website helps promote the importance of respectful and healthy relationships by raising awareness about the danger signs of dating abuse and providing links to educational materials, safety plans, bystander information and additional resources.
Here, brief descriptions of the app’s features and guidance on when and how to use OnWatch:
Watch My Back:When you’re going to a party, going on a date or going for a runopen OnWatch and select Watch My Back. Fill in the contact info for your A3s—the anywhere, anytime, any reason friends who make up your own team of first-responders—then write a message (partying at Alpha-Beta-Delta, I may be in trouble. Call me, then call campus security), set a timer—say, four hours for a night out—and off you go. If all goes as planned, you can easily cancel the timer, and no one has to know where you were, what you were doing or that you might have felt vulnerable.But, if the countdown runs out without being canceled, your customized message and location, with a link to a map, will be sent to your designated contacts notifying them that you may need help.
Panic: This is an alert mode designed for situations when may need immediate help. Those times when you feel vulnerable, for example, when you’re walking across an empty campus, entering a deserted parking garage, or studying late at night in the library, open OnWatch and tap the Panic icon to access a screen with a big panic button. If you feel threatened, double tap the Panic button. Your phone automatically calls 911 and sends text and email messages with your GPS info to notify preselected contacts that you may be in danger.
I’m Here: Check in with friends, make rendezvous plans or let others know you’ve safely arrived at your destination, with just a couple of taps of the phone. Before you leave your dorm, write a message and select contacts (for one-time use or to use over and over again). Once you’ve arrived at your appointed location, with just a couple of taps of your phone, all your preselected contacts will receive emails and text messages with your GPS location. Peace of mind and convenience at your fingertips.
Call 911 Only: We were being literal when we named this feature. It requires no setup and is designed for those times when you want to immediately summon emergency services without notifying your contacts.
Campus Police: Once you enter your Campus Police number into your phone, this alert requires no set up and, similar to Call 911 Only, it’s designed for those times when you want to immediately summon help without notifying your contacts. Here’s how it works: From the home screen, tap Campus Police and the large shield will appear on your screen. Keep it open whenever you feel vulnerable. If you sense danger, tap twice to call Campus Police.
My Watches: One Size Never Fits All. Each alert mode can be customized by the combination of contacts you select, the tools you activate and the messages you create. Together, these variables create a Watch. You can create an unlimited number of Watches—and they can be set up for one-time or repeated use.
My People: These are the folks you’d turn to in an emergency: Your best friend, roommate, RA and others who are part of your circle of support. You look out for one another with Watch My Back, respond to each other’s Panic calls and you keep in touch with I’m Here. (A suggestion: Work out a system so there’s a rotating “responsible responder,” a designated contact for the day–someone charged with remaining clear headed and available to answer alerts.)
Connect: OnWatch allows you to automatically share activated alert messages (or not) with Facebook friends and/or Twitter followers. Before posting alerts to any social media site, check your privacy settings. Or, consider setting up a social media page that can only be accessed by your trusted friends or relatives, and use that account to post alert messages.”
What Circle of 6 says about their App:
“Circle of 6 is an iPhone app for college-aged students and their friends to stay close, stay safe, and prevent violence before it happens.
We believe that staying connected to a small group of people is critical to keeping you and your friends informed and safe. Circle of 6 is a mobile app that makes it quick and easy to reach your circle and let them know where you are, and what you need. It’s a fast, easy-to-use and secure way to look out for each other.
The design is simple. It takes two touches to get help, so no fumbling or digging around for the right number. We use icons to represent actions, so that no one can tell what you’re up to if they see your phone. The design ensures safety, speed and privacy. GPS is integrated (using Google maps), and is only activated by you, and sent to your own Circle of 6.
Publicly we ask that everyone take the pledge to stop violence before it happens. This via a Facebook page to engage large numbers of young adults 18-24 in advocating for safer campuses and relationships without violence. Privately, we ask that you look out for each other by downloading the Circle of 6 app and supporting your friends.
The app is a proto-prototype, currently working on iPhones. In the next iteration, we will expand programming to work on multiple devices and operating systems (Droids, Blackberries, etc), and will conduct usability testing.
The gallery of images is a storyboard of how the app works. Each user downloads the app and adds 5 contacts from their address book, creating a Circle of 6 supporters. There are 3 situations where SMS notifications are sent to your circle of 6, and one emergency where the Love is Respect and RAINN hotlines can be called automatically.
1. Car icon: Come and get me. SMS message reads, “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely. My GPS coordinates are…”
2. Phone icon: Call me. SMS message reads, “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”
3. Chat icon: I need some advice. SMS message reads, “I’m looking for information, just letting you know.” [This will link the user with risk-assessment tools and information about healthy vs. abusive relationships developed by content partners, including ISIS, The Line Campaign, RAINN, California Coalition against Sexual Assault]“