New York, Feb 19 IANS | 10 months ago

Are you a victim of dating violence or want to get out of an abusive relationship? Here comes an app that helps you clarify your priorities and customise personal safety plans.

In an effort to connect more young women with safety information, researchers at University of Missouri (MU), along with Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and non-profit One Love Foundation, have developed 'One Love My Plan' smartphone application.

This interactive tool helps young women in abusive relationships decide safety measures for themselves via various features embedded in it.

"Women between ages 18-24 are at the highest risk for dating violence. However, these women are less likely than older adults to seek formal safety resources and instead look to peers or technology for help and advice," said researchers.

At some point, almost everyone knows someone in an unhealthy relationship.

"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," explained Tina Bloom, an assistant professor at the MU's Sinclair School of Nursing.

To ensure that young women would find the app helpful, Bloom and her team conducted focus groups with college-age women who identified themselves as survivors of abusive relationships.

One student told the researchers that she really liked the app because it provided strategies she could use immediately to help herself or a friend.

The 'My Plan' app gives students tools to examine their relationships, set their priorities and privately access resources when they are ready.

The free app is filled with helpful features including information on healthy relationship dynamics, common relationship violence myths and potential behavioural red flags.

It has personalised safety plans based on users' priorities and backed by scientific research.

It also provides and option to do live chat with trained peer advocates, said the study published in Journal of Technology in Human Services.

(Posted on 19-02-2014)

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