3 apps that help victims of domestic violence


By: Alvin Wilson

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness and Crime Prevention Awareness Month.

In the spirit of awareness, we are reviewing three apps that can aid victims of domestic violence and possibly prevent incidents from happening in the first place.


SafeTrek is an ingenious smartphone app that, as its name implies, helps the user feel safe. It was designed to be used while the user travels from an area where the feel unsafe to a safer one, but it also works well to help victims of domestic abuse.

It couldn’t be any easier to use: simply open the app, and then hold down a button until you no longer feel unsafe. When the button is released, the app will ask for a four number PIN. If the PIN isn’t entered, the app automatically notifies authorities of your location.

Although it is beautifully simple and easy to use, there is a con. SafeTrek is free to download, but it has a modest $2.99 per month fee in order to keep their call centers operating. New users can try SafeTrek out for free with its seven day free trial.

Aspire is another great app with a clever design. It allows victims of domestic violence to get information and help without worrying about their abusers finding out.

It does this by disguising itself as a news app. After setting up an account and opening the app, the user has an option to pick from three main categories: Top News, World News and Entertainment News.

The user, of course, isn’t looking for news. Under the “help” section, the user can either get help in a domestic violence situation, or get information regarding domestic violence.

While setting up an account, the user adds emergency contacts to the app. If they decide they need help, they can either find the “Get Help” button, or tap three times on the top border of the app. This notifies their emergency contacts that they need help via text-message.

Aspire is free, but its creators warn that it is not a replacement for contacting the authorities. It is simply meant to be discreet.

ICE BlackBox:

ICE Blackbox is the last app we reviewed. It’s another cleverly designed app, and it is similar to the previous two with regards to the private/hidden nature of the interface.

When the app is first opened, users set up an account and add emergency contacts.

Instead of sending a text, however, it allows users to record a video of their abusers. Trusted contacts can access the video, and it is automatically saved to the cloud so the abuser has no way of deleting it.

This app also has another built-in safety feature. If the trusted contacts are unable to respond quickly enough, the app has a button that immediately calls 911.

ICE BlackBox is free to download and use.

If you need help or information regarding domestic abuse, try these apps, contact Abby’s House on campus, or visit the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence at www.nrcdv.org.