Uniting for a domestic violence recovery

The Palaszczuk Government has teamed up with software developers and Telstra to build a new smartphone bystander app to help Queenslanders unite and stop domestic and family violence.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the Bystander app would show how to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship of a loved one and give advice on intervening in a safe, proactive way.

“With one sixth of women and one sixteenth of men over the age of 15 experiencing domestic and family violence the chances are we all know somebody living with violence,” Ms Farmer said.

“Government can’t go it alone on domestic and family violence, we all have a responsibility as bystanders to help.

“Many people experiencing violence often don’t know where to turn, so we’re putting technology to work to make identifying and reporting domestic violence as a bystander much easier.

“The majority of domestic violence bystanders want to help out but often don’t know how to get started.

“That’s why it’s fantastic to have Telstra and the Mate Bystander program on board to build an app to better inform bystanders on domestic violence.

“It’s a good example of the Palaszczuk Government’s Virtual COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Summit uniting minds to help with Queensland’s pandemic recovery.

“We all have a part to play in ending domestic and family violence.

“If you see it, hear it, or suspect it, report it.

“And, that’s how the Bystander App is designed to help.

The app’s concept was brought to the Virtual Summit by the MATE Bystander program.

Shaan Ross-Smith from MATE Bystander said the app will be the first of its kind to empower bystanders to domestic and family violence to act.

“We all know of somebody who has been affected in some way by domestic violence and we all want to know what we can do to help,” she said.

“The app will empower bystanders with the information they need to make informed decisions and intervene in safe and respectful ways.”

General Manager of Queensland Government business Gaven Nicholls said Telstra was proud to provide the technology and digital expertise for such an important cause.

“Telstra is committed to making a positive difference in the community for those affected by domestic and family violence,” Mr Nicholls said.

Input for the app has also come following conversation with Hannah Clarke’s friends and family.

“Hannah’s death and the tragic loss of her three beautiful children broke the hearts of Queenslanders and many around the world,” Ms Farmer said.

“By uniting with the Bystander app we’re helping others to recover from COVID-19 and the problems the pandemic has brought for people living at home with violence.”

Ms Farmer said COVID-19 had created a “perfect storm” for many people under a dark cloud of domestic and family violence in their own home.

Perpetrators have been able to manipulate social distancing requirements to further control family members.

In some homes, abuse of drugs and alcohol, job losses and money problems during the pandemic saw violence emerge as a never before seen family dynamic.

“The Palaszczuk Government delivered $7.5 million in top up payments to 305 services,” Ms Farmer said

“It gave service providers the resources to unite and help families recover from COVID-19 violence at home.

“The Bystander app is also part of our COVID-19 recovery response.

“By itself the Bystander app won’t stop domestic and family violence – it needs you to look for the signs of violence, provide discreet support and report it.

“Only then can people affected by domestic violence begin to recover.”

Development of the app starts this month.

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