App/Tech Concept: Helping Sexual Assault Victims Report

There are a couple of  applications today that address the prevention of sexual assault. For example 6 circle is an app that allows users to reach six trusted pre-selected group of friends with clear message and GPS locator alerting them to call and interrupt or to come and pick her/him up, if she/he feels uneasy and/or potential in harm in one click of a button. Application like that though provide prevention assistance, what about applications that provide assistance to those that have been sexually assaulted and want to report the crime safely, privately, and effectively? My research on reporting sexual assault found that victims of sexual assault usually choose not to report because various reasons including lack of faith in the justice system and/or shame/self doubt. The mobile technology concept that I have developed will help with issues regarding underreported sexual assaults. It will provide assistance with, police reporting practices, access victim services, an increase of the victims personal sense of safety and delivering a sense of closure to the victims (Vicki Vopni 2006).

We covered earlier that 11% of victims that police documented did not wish to report claimed they were encouraged by the police to drop the charges (Murphy, Edwards, Bennett, Bibeau & Sichelstiel 2013; Vopni 2006), with the app I’ve developed all police departments will be provided with a software where they are required to follow sensible and more companionate reporting practices for cases of sexual assaults. Knowing that particular language is very likely to make victims feel intimidated and/or interrogated my software is designed to provide investigating officers with specific language and questions when investigating a report that will not make the victim feel that she/he is being condescended, blamed, and/or interrogated. This should help lower the negative experiences victims undergo when reporting a sexual assault. But that is only the beginning when carrying out a report, as we know out of 32 cases 7 lead to arrest and only 2 are actually prosecution (RAINN), in order to help increase the prosecution of an offender the software will require detailed documentation of statements and in other evidence to be logged by officers where it will be sent directly to the message broad of an assistant district attorney (that the apps systematically picks).

The technology is not only intended to be use by the Police department, and assistant District attorneys but victims of sexual assault and others will have access to a public version of this app. Victims will we able the report there assault anonymously before going to the police, that way they will be able to provide an accurate documentation of the assault without feeling they are be interrogated. To also help ease any possible fear or distress (something that  normally would reduces a victim’s decision) of reporting their anonymous report will be allowed to securely save with a timestamp marking when it was stored until the victim may be ready to submit it to authorities. User of this app will be provided with contacts to assault-response resources like law enforcement (Police Department Special Victims Unit or the office of victim/witness services and not just 911), medical facilities and resources, and 24-hour support hotlines.

Works Cited
Vopni, Vicki. “Young Women’s Experiences with Reporting Sexual Assault to Police.” Canadian Woman Studies 25.1 (2006): 107-14. ProQuest. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.

Murphy, S. B., Edwards, K. M., Bennett, S., Bibeau, S. J., & Sichelstiel, J. (2014). Police reporting practices for sexual assault cases in which “The victim does not wish to pursue charges”. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29(1), 144-156.


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