New app One Love My Plan wants to provide help to young women in abusive relationships.
According to research, women between the age of 18 and 24 are at the highest risk of dating violence, but are less likely to seek formal safety resources and instead look to peers or technology for help.
The My Plan app is an interactive tool that helps college-age women in abusive relationships recognise potential red flags, clarify their priorities and customise personal safety plans.
It has been launched by the University of Missouri, in collaboration with the John Hopkins University School of Nursing and the One Love Foundation.
Tina Bloom, assistant professor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, said:
“The purpose of the My Plan app is to quickly and confidentially provide women and concerned friends with information and available resources.
“Our goal is not to replace existing services, but to better connect students with them.”
The researchers conducted focus groups with college-age women who identified themselves as survivors of abusive relationships.
Bloom said: “Students said that phones feel private, and they always have their phones with them.
“One student told us that she really liked the app because it provided strategies she could use immediately to help herself or a friend.
“In abusive situations, there are many factors to consider.
“The My Plan app gives students tools to examine their relationships, set their priorities and privately access resources when they are ready.”
Users can implement safety features, such as choosing an innocuous logo or name, and adding password protection.
My Plan offers personalised safety plans based on users’ priorities, backed by scientific research.
It also provides an option to live chat with trained peer advocates.