Zonta House Refuge Association has launched a brand new app which will potentially save the lives of women in danger from domestic and family violence in Western Australia. The Positive Pathways App, named after the holistic outreach program run by Zonta House, will be the first of its kind in Australia. The App, which is available on new and old iOS and Android devices, will be free to users.

Print information on the app: Safety and Wellbeing App Information Sheet

The App has the façade of a women’s wellness app with Inspirational Quotes, Positive Moments and a Daily Diary which is password protected.

The primary purpose however is the emergency functionality:

  • By tapping the Positive Pathways logo three times (in two seconds) the app will activate the built in microphone to record five minutes of the crisis situation. The logo will change to green as it records.
  • At the same time as the audio recording, the phone will also prompt you to press SEND on a pre-written text message that asks for help and also sends your current GPS location to your trusted contacts (that you pre-build).
  • The 000 button has the façade of a pattern but is the real emergency number. With one tap you can call the police.

The app has three key benefits in addition to the facade:

  • To keep the user safe by triggering help to friends/family
  • To provide mental health support to the user in the form of positive quotes and encouraging the user to think of how others have provided them with happy thoughts or memories whilst also using the dairy to record DV episodes.
  • To potentially use the audio recording in later court proceedings.

The Help and Plan section which is also password protected, allows the user to view information on the Positive Pathways program but also to set up the pre-emptive text message in advance.

The audio recording in the phone will be in a hidden location on the phone which can be accessed by logging into the Help and Plan section.

Much of the App is designed not to stream information from the internet which also serves the purpose to support women in rural and remote regions that are only using their phones through 4G or have little data supply.

Additionally, if someone you know is in an abusive relationship—or if that someone is you—the Help Section of the application contains resources for victims of domestic violence. This app does not serve as a replacement for emergency services—in any situation where you feel that you may be at risk, please dial 000 on the home screen or your local emergency number.

Zonta House Refuge Association greatly appreciates the generosity of Anne and Frank Sibbel of F & A Sibbel Mining Consultants Pty Ltd for fully funding the development of this App.

How the APP works

Firstly, download the app for free

HOME PAGE FUNCTION

  • Inspirational quotes – offers a positive quote a day to help you on your way.
  • Daily Thoughts – is a diary (password protected). You can make diary entries as often as you like and you can review, delete or email the entries. This can be useful for noting down the actual domestic violence occurrences for later use in court.
  • Positive Moments – are about capturing nice things that happen to you on a daily basis. It might be that someone complimented your clothes, or that someone let you in front of a line – and that they made a difference to your day.
  • Help and Plan – is the façade for the important information you need in order to set up the app as a support mechanism for when you are in trouble.
  • The Positive Pathways Logo is actually a façade button for activating your text message, sending your GPS location and for recording audio with your in-built microphone.
  • The -000- button is designed to look like part of the design but is actually the 000 emergency button.

HOW TO USE THE HELP AND PLAN SECTION

When you first open this screen you will notice that it is password protected. Set up your password and then click return. You now have three choices:

  • Help Options
  • Previous Saved Recordings
  • Positive Pathways

Under Help Options you will have another three options:

  • Your trusted contacts
  • Text Settings
  • Who can Help?

If this is your first time using the app, you should go straight into the Help Options and start setting up your trusted contacts.

Trusted Contacts:

Under this section, think about who in your family/friends/relatives, you absolutely trust. Speak to them about becoming a trusted contact before you add in their details. That way, once you set this up and if you activate the emergency function – they know what it means when they receive your text. We would suggest between 1 and 3 contacts.

You can have the option to manually add in a contact or to visit your own contacts in your phone and select them that way. Click save button once each contact is added.

If you have an Android phone – you will only be able to add the contacts in manually.

Text Settings:

This function allows you to add a personal message to the texts that will be sent out to your trusted contacts in an emergency.

Under this section you can check off that you would like your GPS location to be sent (the phone would have asked you for access to your location when you first opened the app). It will also ask you to select the activation of the microphone. Finally you can personalise your message being sent. Keep in mind that it will be the same message for all of your contacts. Press done once you have finished setting this section up.

Once you have set your text settings a screen message will come up saying the following:

“You have now activated this app to help you when in need. To send your pre-saved message and activate your microphone, please open the app and tap on the Positive Pathways logo three times. Depending on which options you have enabled in “Text Settings” , the enabled pre-set actions will take effect. To access your audio recording: navigate from Main Menu > Help and Plan > Previous Saved Recordings. Then scroll through the list of audio files at the bottom of the screen”

NOTE: As an extra precaution, you may also want to go into your settings and change your sleep mode to five minutes so that you can ensure that the microphone activation will record for longer than a minute (the standard time before a phone will go into sleep mode).

If you practice the emergency button and text message, don’t forget to delete the text message out of your messages.

Who can Help?:

Under this final section in Help Options, we provide a list of services for victims of Domestic Violence in Australia. Each listing has a phone number and/or a website link.

Also under master Help and Plan section is the button for Positive Pathways.

When pressing on the Positive Pathways button, you are given three options:

  • About Positive Pathways
  • How we can Help
  • Signs of trouble

These three areas consist of information about our program and signs to look out for.

When you activate the emergency button:

There may come a time where you anticipate and can sense that something is not right. If you feel in danger and have your phone handy. Here is what you need to do.

Firstly, ensure that your trusted contacts/GPS and microphone were pre-set and activated, and your sleep mode was extended, before you attempt to use the app.

  • Open the app and click on the Positive Pathways logo in the home screen THREE times within TWO seconds (try not to do it too rushed).
  • Wait a few seconds and then see if the logo has turned green. If it has, then you have activated the microphone and text settings. If not, try pressing it three times again.
  • The phone will then pop up the text message straight away indicating to you that you need to press SEND on the text. Unfortunately iOS and Android do not send the message automatically due to spam laws. You must remember to also press send on the message before you put the phone down or away.
  • Note that you can use the phone to just use the microphone (by not setting up the text message function under Help and Plan).
  • Once you have pressed send on the text message, your phone has now sent the text message to your trusted contacts AND the phone has activated audio recording.
  • At this point do not press the power off button (on top of the iphone) or the circular button to go back to homescreen. This will effectively stop the activity of the app.
  • Instead you should place your phone on a table nearby facing downwards, or perhaps in your pocket or handbag as close to you as possible.
  • If you sense escalated danger – please press the -000- button and this will call the Police.

For more information regarding the app and our services please do not hesitate to contact the Positive Pathways team.