Apps Against Abuse

In July of 2011, Vice President Joe Biden, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched the ‘Apps Against Abuse’ technology challenge. The nationwide competition called on software innovators to harness the power of mobile technology to help prevent dating violence and abuse by keeping young adults connected to trusted friends and providing easy access to important resources for help including local police and abuse hotlines.

Since many incidents of dating violence and sexual assault occur when the offender, often an acquaintance, has targeted and isolated a young woman in vulnerable circumstances, the goal of the application envisioned was to offer individuals a way to connect with trusted friends in real-time to prevent abuse from occurring. Everyone has a role to play in the prevention of violence and abuse, and while no one can do everything, everyone can do something. These applications are an important step in encouraging young women and men to take an active role in the prevention of dating violence and sexual assault.

In November 2011, the Vice President and Secretary Sebelius announced the winners of the Challenge: "Circle of 6" and "On Watch." Vice President Biden applauded the winning applications during a conference call with hundreds of college and university officials to discuss ongoing efforts to help better prevent and respond to sexual assault and violence on campuses across the country. He encouraged the college and university leaders to make students on their campuses aware of the applications, which are now available for download.

Read descriptions of the winning apps below.

Image of "Circle of 6" iPhone app

Circle of 6

This iPhone app makes it quick and easy to reach your circle of supporters and let them know where you are and what you need. It takes two touches to get help.

The app uses text messaging to contact your circle, uses GPS to locate you when needed, connects to reputable domestic violence organizations, and asks contacts to take a pledge on Facebook to stop violence before it happens.


Image of "On Watch" iPhone app


On Watch

On Watch is an iPhone app that lets you transmit critical information by phone, email, text, and social media to your support network.

You can check in with friends, call 911 or campus police with two touches of a button, set countdown timers that send messages and GPS information automatically if events or activities don’t go according to plan, and connect to sexual assault, dating violence and domestic abuse hotlines.


 For more information on how to download the apps, visit the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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