Domestic Abuse Diary App
Domestic abuse is not always obvious. In fact, the majority of abuse will take place at home or in private spaces where the perpetrator can’t be seen. Victims are often put in situations where they feel helpless.
Many try to record the abuse on their phones or tablets, but then get questioned – ‘are you filming me? Let me see your phone!’. If you are caught texting your friends about what has happened, or taking photos of your bruises on your phone, you may worry that is only going to make matters worse. So then you end up back to suffering in silence and the horrific cycle of abuse continues.
What if there was a way of documenting the abuse, without your partner being able to see it?
Domestic abuse charity, The Cithrâh Foundation (based in Northern Ireland), has developed an app which lets you record information such as the date, location and images but the information then disappears from the phone and is stored remotely. It is essentially a ‘cloud’ diary which is password protected.
The foundation has used funds from Comic Relief to create the app, which was developed with the assistance of a former police officer. Liz Gibbons has recalled countless occasions where she has visited households and over time seen a pattern of abuse. However, when victims finally come forward, it is difficult for them to piece together a timeline of what has happened as they often push it to the back of their minds. This app offers the opportunity to keep a record of what happened as it happens.
Many victims have been known to keep diaries of what is happening to them. This app will help with this, but also offer the opportunity to keep the evidence stored out of reach for when that person feels strong enough to come forward.
Not only will the app be helpful in terms of evidence for criminal proceedings but also in family law situations where the app could be used to document a pattern of behaviour which could ultimately impact on children as well as the victim.
If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse, this app may be a safe way to create a record of what is happening. This may be so that there is a record as a ‘sanity check’ in the case of someone being gas-lighted or where there is potentially going to be contact with the police and or children’s services in the future.
Here at Maguire Family Law, we see many cases of domestic abuse but we are often only introduced to these cases when things reach a head and the victim (or a third party) seeks advice. Apps such as this one help to support you throughout your relationship.
We have not included the name of the app for the safety of those using it. If you wish to download it, get in touch with the Cithrâh Foundation or contact them by email or on Facebook.
Please think carefully before downloading the app. Although the app is discrete in how it is displayed and labelled on your own phone, we are aware that many families have a linked account for the AppStore or Google Play Store. This may mean that the account administrator or other connected users can see the apps that you download. Although this may not automatically enable them to view the content you have created in your own app from a different device, the product description (which anyone can potentially see) refers to domestic abuse and the purpose of the app being to provide a safe and secure way for victims of abuse to record the behaviour they experience.
We have written a number of articles on domestic abuse which will give you further guidance on the legal remedies which may be available to you. Click the links below to read further information.
In addition, there are a number of organisations offering support to those experiencing domestic abuse, such as:
English National Domestic Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327
End the Fear – Greater Manchester
0161 636 7525
It is also important to remember that if you are in any danger, you should contact the police immediately on 999.
Be careful when accessing internet resources on these topics on a shared computer or linked devices. Many websites have an “exit page” button to enable you to close the webpage quickly, but you should also check your browser history to make sure that there is no trail left of the pages you have visited. Women’s Aid has put together a helpful guidance webpage which you should read to ensure that you protect yourself as much as possible.