Domestic Violence: The Underreported Crime – Can Mobile Apps Help?

Wed, Dec 3, 2014

Domestic Violence News

Domestic violence is a crime, but unlike openly visible crimes, such as street muggings, it is massively underreported. It takes place behind closed doors, with few witnesses, and with victims left feeling helpless, and feeling unable to take the steps to report it themselves.

We have recently discovered a smartphone app that allows you to put together evidence at the scene of a crime and report it to the police, all on your mobile. It’s called Self Evident, and is run by Witness Confident.

Who Are Witness Confident?

Witness Confident is an independent charity that is taking the stand against the, ‘walk-on-by’ culture and campaigns for a more enlightened criminal justice system.

Their app, Self Evident, allows you to secure reliable evidence immediately, and record a statement when it’s all fresh in your mind. The app then allows you to send this evidence directly to the police and store it securely on the app’s server, rather than on your phone. When secured on the server in your on-line account, any data is validated by recording when and where it was taken.

What Can I Do To Report Domestic Violence?

Sarah Byrt works for Witness Confident, and as a former solicitor, is looking at how the app can help with domestic abuse and hate crime.

“We think that the app is particularly useful for victims of domestic abuse in that you can for instance use the recording function to record a conversation, or take photos of injuries or damage to property after the event, as well as videoing a statement of what has just happened.

It’s obviously important for people not to endanger themselves in the way they use the app but where it’s safe to use it and you choose to report to the police, all of these things will help them to understand the abuse,” Sarah said.  “Until you choose to report, the evidence is safe in your account.”

Other ways the app can be used include:

  • Proving breaches of court orders, for example, by showing a person was in a specific place at a specific time
  • Sending evidence to support groups, such as women’s shelters
  • Sending evidence to a solicitor
  • Acting as a witness to incidents involving other people, such as friends or family, including after a domestic violence incident

The app is free to download (see and it’s also free to send evidence to the police throughout England and Wales.

“Apps such as Self Evident provide another tool for victims of domestic abuse. It is important that victims of domestic violence feel confident to take action, and can do so safely.” Comments Emma Pearmaine, Head of Family Law at Simpson Millar LLP.  Download our free Domestic Violence & Abuse Support Legal Guide here.

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