Finding ways to connect people with the information and services that can support them can be a challenge. VCOSS member, Doncare, is using technology to offer useful and practical advice and assistance to people to help prevent violence and family violence.
Doncare, in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs, has launched two Smartphone Apps in the last six months; LiveFree and iMatter. iMatter is a violence prevention program. The program’s youth leadership approach enables young people to empower each other to navigate their relationships safely. The program’s overall aim is two-pronged: to build self-esteem, respect and resilience; and to prevent violence and promote healthy relationships. iMatter achieves this through the delivery of school workshops, community seminars and the iMatter Smartphone App.
The iMatter workshops and the iMatter App provide platforms for young people to raise awareness and create change around societal pressures and social attitudes, identify potential risks in relationships, recognise and address controlling and abusive behaviour, understand the dynamics of healthy relationships, and to learn how to support themselves and others who are experiencing violence.
iMatter workshops are currently available to young women and will also be available to young men in the near future. Previous pilot workshops with young men and women have resulted in outstanding outcomes.
Doncare also provides individual and group support for women and children affected by family violence. So often women talk to them about signs early in the relationship that they were not being respected. “If only I’d known”, or “I should have realised when we were dating…” It was comments like this, repeated in so many ways, that led Doncare staff to think of ways to provide information to young people, about what is and is not respectful behaviour in a relationship, and to educate them about early warning signs of abusive and controlling behaviour
About the iMatter App:
The iMatter App is designed to build resilience, to educate about disrespect and violence and to promote conversations among young people about healthy relationship behaviour. The App includes motivational images and quotes, blog articles, videos, quizzes, a private MyMatters section. Content can be shared or saved to the user’s phone. The App also provides contact information to national support services and other useful Apps/Websites.
Since launching the iMatter App Doncare has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from members of the public who have found it beneficial.
“I am a young woman and I was in an abusive relationship for years and wasn’t aware of it until making my statement to the police. After learning about the iMatter workshops and then using the App it has helped me realise so many things and I am proud to say that I have learned to love myself and I am now in a healthy relationship.” – Ruth
“I was positively bursting with emotion and words and excitement over this!! From the tears that welled up in my eyes from experiencing the app for myself, (and yes there were those shared thoughts too of, ‘I wish I had this then’, in recalling my own heavily toxic and abusive relationship past), as well as my steps towards healing and learning to love and re-claim and be my AUTHENTIC SELF. I finally see that I am capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for, even in recovery still, the spark is alight and I am more alive than ever I feel.” – Savannah
About the LiveFree App:
Doncare has also developed an App called LiveFree which is designed to increase your understanding of domestic violence and provide information about warning signs and how to get help. Money has recently been secured to expand LiveFree to Android phones and this is expected to be live in March 2015.
What is Domestic Violence? Are you safe at home? Want to rate your relationship? Are you concerned about a friend or relative? Where can you get help? LiveFree is designed to increase your understanding of domestic violence and provide information about warning signs and links to services.