A University of Missouri researcher played a key role in developing an app for young women in abusive relationships.
Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are at the greatest risk of dating violence. Older women are more likely to seek more formal safety resources while younger women seek help from peers and advice from digital technology.
Tina Bloom, an assistant professor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, worked with the John Hopkins University School of Nursing and the One Love Foundation to develop the "One Love My Plan" app.
The app helps provide women and their worried friends information and direct them to available resources.
Women often face violent threats if they indicate they are going to leave an abusive relationship.
Bloom said young women see dating violence as well as healthy and unhealthy relationships.
"And because they're young and still learning how to be in relationships, it's challenging," Bloom said.
The app opens with a series of questions to help define dangerous relationships and develop a plan. The goal is to better connect victims with resources. A live chat option is also available.
"Having a source of information you always have with you is important to find out what is going on and what's important to you," Bloom said.
Tineeca Hughes, 19, said she saw a friend struggle with an abusive relationship. She said she believes the app can help friends know how to approach someone in an abusive relationship in order to help them or help the victim "diagnose the symptoms of an abusive relationship and maybe they'll do something about it."
If a controlling boyfriend is snooping through his girlfriend's phone, the app has a security PIN.
The developers conducted focus groups with college-age women who survived abusive relationships to help guide their efforts.
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