Home Office support of safety app fails to address male violence against girls, campaigners say

Women’s teams have urged the federal government to implement measures which “address the behaviour of violent men” after it backed a brand new app that permits customers’ family and friends to observe their journey dwelling.

Path Community goals to assist girls and different weak teams get dwelling safely by offering them with a monitored route. The app permits customers to select nominated “guardians” who shall be in a position to observe their journey.

If the walker strikes greater than 40 metres from the designated route, or stops for greater than three minutes, it is going to ask them if they’re OK. If there isn’t any reply after 30 seconds, the app will notify the particular person’s guardians.

The app comes after 2021 noticed two extremely publicised instances of girls who had been murdered whereas strolling dwelling, Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

The Home Office’s safeguarding minister, Rachel Maclean, stated Path Community is an element of a “whole society approach to tackling violence against women and girls”.

Maclean stated: “Every part of government is working in tandem to deliver our Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, published in July, which focuses on increased support for survivors, bringing perpetrators to justice and prevention.”

The app has been created by a personal firm and has not obtained any funding from the federal government.

Rights teams have criticised the app as one other instance of an initiative that “asks women to do yet more work to keep themselves safe”.

“Spaces are not unsafe because of the streetlights or the environment or what we are wearing – they are unsafe because of violent men,” Jayne Butler, CEO of Rape Crisis informed the Independent.

“Women already go to great lengths to create a sense of safety by trading in their personal freedoms, another app is not the solution to the underlying issue.

“Addressing harmful attitudes towards women and challenging rape culture is long overdue. We want to see an initiative from the Home Office that addresses the behaviour of violent men, not that asks women to do yet more work to keep themselves safe.”

Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition stated initiatives which place the burden of staying secure on girls can lead to sufferer blaming.

“Solutions focused on women’s safety are producing measures that fail to get to the root of the problem: men’s attitudes and behaviour.

“This app will do nothing to deter a perpetrator intent on harming women, nor will it address the deeply rooted attitudes, norms and inequality that underpin violence against women,” Simon stated.

“With women’s rights and freedoms to be free from threats of violence as a starting point, we’ll see different solutions that do not place the responsibility on women to protect ourselves and therefore do not blame victims when they are attacked, and do not involve the surveillance of women’s movements under the guise of keeping us safe.”

Some teams have additionally expressed concern that the app’s principal operate, to observe a consumer’s actions, could possibly be misused by abusers.

“Control is at the heart of all domestic abuse. Having heard so many survivors tell us about experiences of being told where they can and can’t go, who they can and can’t see, the ability to track a partner’s movements to the extent this app allows is chilling,” Farah Nazeer, chief govt of Women’s Aid stated.

“It would extend an abuser’s reach beyond the home, controlling women in spaces they previously felt safe and free.”

Harry Mead, the founder of Path Community, stated he had tried to eradicate misuse of the app.

“For example, with abusers, we have deliberately only enabled guardians to be linked to individual journeys, not every journey. We are also building in the ability for users to toggle live location on and off in order to give them even more privacy whilst maintaining the same safety level,” he stated.

Noting that the app is “not the solution to an enormous and systemic issue”, Mead stated he hopes it’s a “step in the right direction”.

“It has been developed with the support and input of victims of all communities who have suffered vile attacks and is designed to strive towards safer cities for everyone,” he added.

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