This Website Is Helping Abuse Victims Find Shelter

Victims of domestic violence often need to seek shelter outside of their home in order to escape their abusive relationships for good, and the new website Shelter Safe is helping domestic violence victims do just this. The website serves as a connection for female victims, who can use the site to find help throughout Canada. Shelter Safe has an interactive map feature that allows users to click on the province they live in, which then directs them to a map of all of the shelters that exist there. For safety and security reasons, the website doesn't offer the exact addresses of these shelters; however, when one is clicked on, it shows their name and a phone number they can be reached at 24 hours a day.

Shelter Safe was created by the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters & Transition Houses, who says they built this resource in order to give women the help that is often hard to find anywhere else. "We want to ensure that women get the services they need as quickly as possible. Abused women are most at-risk of extreme violence when they are preparing to leave an abusive relationship," the organization states on their website.

Shelter Safe also has a page dedicated to providing hope and inspiration to victims of domestic abuse who may feel that their situation is hopeless. There, they've posted direct quotes from women who have used the services provided by the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters & Transition Houses and were able to escape from their abusers. Some of these quotes include, "My stay at the shelter allows me to find a purpose and motivation for the future," and "For the first time I feel like somebody actually believes me."

The organization's Executive Director, Lise Martin, says that their goal is to show these women that there is an entire network for support they can trust. “When you’re in a time of crisis ... there’s so much information and it’s so easy to get lost,” Martin told The Globe and Mail. “That’s why we felt it was really important to have that single point."

This tool is clearly going to do great work to change the lives of women who are victims of domestic abuse. In recent years, other tech innovations have been created with an aim to help victims of abuse, as well; these three offer a good place to start:

1. Purple PocketBook

The PurplePocketBook was created by Alicia Carr to give victims of abuse access to information about shelters, the law, safety, and even immigration. In order for women to get the necessary information they need as quickly as possible, they are directed to a quiz that asks them specific questions about their situation. The app doesn't require an internet connection to use and is available in six languages, making it usable by women across the world.

2. Children's Rights in Society Emoji

The children's charity BRIS (Children's Rights in Society) in Sweden has created special emoji that are meant to give children the ability to tell someone about the abuse they are experiencing without having to use words. A study found that 72 percent of 18 to 25 year olds find expressing their emotions easier in emoji's than in words.

3. ASPIRE News

This app was created by Robin McGraw, the wife of Dr. Phil and is a very clever way to get the victims of abuse the help they need. Knowing that it isn't always safe for abuse victims to use the Internet (their abuser might be able to track them), ASPIRE News is disguised: It appears to be a news app that features headlines from Yahoo! News. But the app's "Help" section is anything but typical, as it contains resources for victims of domestic abuse; there's even a "Go" button which, if pressed, allows the user to send pre-recorded audio and written message to police and trusted personal contacts. The app also quietly uses location and recording services to document potentially dangerous scenarios the victims may be in.

Images: The Purple PocketBook; BRIS; APSIRE News; Shelter Safe