There’s an App For That
by Sarah Achenbach
Young love. Teenage romance. First kiss. It’s the stuff of movies, pop songs, and memories. For most young women, it’s a magical time, but for one in three women, ages 16–26, these relationships turn violent. Each year, nearly 1,600 women are killed by their abusers in the U.S., and young women are increasingly part of this tragic statistic.
On September 20, the One Love Foundation launched the One Love app, a revolutionary new tool that allows young victims of relationship violence to assess the threat and offers digital and decision-making resources to turn to for help. Available on iTunes and the Droid marketplace, the app is free and anonymous—and it’s backed by more than a quarter of a century of research by Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Anna D. Wolf Chair, and professor of community-public health.
“If a young woman is concerned about whether her relationship is healthy or potentially abusive, she can download the app and go through the questions,” explains Campbell, who worked in collaboration with the One Love Foundation to develop the app and was named to the Foundation’s National Advisory Counsel in August.
The app helps a young woman assess her level of danger and make decisions and offers links to resources, such as the Teen Dating Violence Hotline. It’s based on Campbell’s Danger Assessment Tool, which she created in 1986 and has since verified for accuracy and usability with several major research studies.
Even the app’s functionality has a young woman’s safety in mind: Once a person uses the app, it automatically disables and removes itself from the user’s smart phone, a handy and potentially life-saving feature should the abuser be a highly controlling person who monitors his partner’s phone. “Our goal was to make something readily available without it in any way inadvertently putting a young woman in a more vulnerable position,” Campbell explains.
Though geared toward the victim, family and friends also may use the One Love App with the victim to help her understand how dangerous it is to remain in the relationship and guide her to the appropriate resources, says Campbell. “Family and friends should not feel like they can solve this for her,” she notes. “There are wonderful resources available to help. My hope is that young women around the country who have questions about their relationship or a friend’s will use the app if they are worried about the relationship.” Upcoming plans include a One Love app for family and friends and a calendar feature.