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Griffith Uni Researchers Launch World-First App to Combat Domestic Violence

Griffith University’s MATE program has developed a world-leading smartphone app designed to help prevent domestic and family violence. The app provides tips to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship and advice on intervening safely to protect friends and family impacted by violence.  The Motivating Action Through Empowerment (MATE) Bystander program partnered with the Queensland Government and Telstra on the ‘Be there’ app, which was officially launched this week.

Directors of the MATE Bystander program Shaan Ross-Smith and Anoushka Dowling said it was a critical tool that empowered people to be there for friends and family. “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.”

The app will empower bystanders with the information they need to make informed decisions and intervene in safe and respectful ways. It was noted that MATE already delivers person-to-person training, online webinars and other modules and the Be there app is another way to empower us to challenge a conversation, behaviour or a sense that something isn’t ok before it is too late.

The partnership between Griffith University, the state government and Telstra demonstrated the need for a united front in tackling domestic and family violence. “By itself, the app won’t stop domestic and family violence, but we want to help people look for the signs of violence, provide support and report it,” she added.

The Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence said the app was a vital part of the Government’s domestic and family violence prevention strategy.

Across the State, communities have been deeply impacted by recent tragic events and people want to do more to put a stop to violence against women. Hence, the government partnered with the Griffith University MATE Bystander program and its industry partner to develop the Be there app to make it even easier for Queenslanders to access vital information they need to support a friend or family member experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV).

The community has been coming out in force, at rallies and vigils, declaring ‘enough is enough’. This app will be aimed at these very people who are determined that they won’t let this happen to their friends, family and loved ones. The aim is to make it easier for Queenslanders to identify what DFV is and be able to respond earlier and appropriately to what can usually be a complex and difficult situation.

Griffith University’s MATE Program is an education and intervention project that helps challenge problematic behaviour around domestic violence, including coercive control.

Be there’ is an initiative delivered by Griffith University’s MATE Bystander Program, with funding support from the Queensland Government, powered by Telstra. The free app gives users direct access to tools that empower, educate and support them to help someone who is experiencing domestic or family violence.

Users gain access to tools that can validate any abusive behaviour they may see, hear or experience and help them navigate a safe way to support someone without making the situation worse or putting either of them in danger.

Users can read, save and share articles that help you learn and understand the signs of coercive control; get recommended content and activities with built-in reminders; save notes with the journaling feature to remember things you see, hear and feel; and, PIN protection ensures it all remains private and confidential.

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