Campaign launches app to support sexual violence victims

first_imgIt Happens Here (IHH), OUSU’s campaign against sexual violence, has partnered with Code4Rights and Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC) to create a mobile app called ‘First Response’, which will provide Oxford University students with a straightforward way to report instances of sexual violence and access support.Code4Rights is a non-profit organisation that aims to address the gender gap in technology by teaching women with no previous experience how to code apps.Funding for the app was secured from Oxford University through the IT Innovation Fund and enabled Code4Rights to run sessions to teach coding to female students with no previous computing experience in order to build the app. The content was designed by IHH in collaboration with OSARCC.Criticisms raised through feedback sessions will be addressed throughout Trinity Term, with the aim of having the app functional by Saturday of 8th Week and ready to be publicised during Freshers’ Week 2015. Speaking at the first feedback event on 4th  May, Eden Tanner, OUSU’s Graduate Women’s Officer, commented, “As someone who’s responded to a lot of sexual violence, I thought, ‘What do we really need?’ We need something accessible and convenient to support survivors of sexual violence in Oxford.“There’s definitely a possibility to extend to Brookes and Ruskin and other interested educational institutions. Long-term, it’s likely that it will spread nationally and even globally. Code4Rights is an international organisation.”Ellie Bennett, Volunteer & Outreach Co-ordinator at OSARCC, said, “This year there were 120 reported rapes in Oxford, up almost 82 per cent from last year. We know that only around 15-20 per cent of rapes are reported, so these numbers represent just a small proportion of survivors in our local area. Sexual violence removes our choice, our agency, our freedom to make decisions about our own lives – that’s why giving survivors back their options is so important to recovery, and it’s why one of our core principles at OSARCC is empowerment.” Anna Bradshaw, OUSU’s VP for Women, commented, “The lack of information about the services available to survivors of sexual violence, and to their friends and supporters, is a very real problem. We hope to close that information gap, and consequently to enable better support.last_img read more