Sexual assault app launched

first_imgAn innovative app for survivors of sexual assault called ‘First Response’, created by groups of women in Oxford, has been launched.The app is centred around helping survivors and their friends as supporters both in the short-term and long-term of surviving the emotional traumas triggered from their experience of such violence. These include being able to call the police, getting medical help, and contacting sexual assault referral centres.On logging into the app, iPhone and Android users are given a list of ‘optional’ ways to respond to rape, assault, harassment and other forms of sexual violence. The app is also intended to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault, providing answers and legal definitions to frequently asked questions, such as “What is sexual consent?” and “What is sexual violence?”Students collectively coded the app over ten months under a joint initiative between the It Happens Here campaign, Code4Rights and Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre. Code4Rights was responsible for training these students to code the app, most of whom had next to no experience in this field.Eden Tanner and Tiana Dias, co-chairs of the It Happens Here campaign, told Cherwell, “The First Response app is a critical piece of technology, which will revolutionise how survivors and supporters in Oxford are able to access information about their options following an incident of sexual violence. It’s so important that we tackle this huge problem from all angles, and empowering survivors with information is a critical step towards this. Also, by creating a culture where everyone is responsible for supporting survivors and fighting rape culture, we hope to challenge the dominant conversation.”Tanner added, “The First Response app revolutionises how survivors can access support, and how we as a community can all take responsibility to be ready and prepared to help someone in distress. Our vision is to have every student, staff member, and person in the wider Oxford community have access to the app, and the help and support it offers.”The making of the app was partially funded by the University’s IT Innovation Challenges, which aims at giving money towards student projects with digital technology to better the experience of Oxford for members of the university.Catherine Paxton, the University’s director of Student Welfare and Services, told Cherwell, “The creativity and drive which It Happens Here and Code4Rights have demonstrated in bringing the First Response app to fruition is inspirational and spurs on everyone in Oxford working to create a safe university environment.“Oxford University is committed to creating a safe university environment for all students and staff and has been working together with students to offer timely, informed, and appropriate support for those who have experienced sexual violence. I am proud that the University through its IT Innovation Challenges could play an enabling role in this pioneering project, and strongly encourage colleagues to access this rich resource which will help us better support students.”last_img read more