Written by Pamela Zaballa 

It was 2003 and I was working at the Manhattan Family Court writing statements for victims of domestic abuse who reported for the first time. My main target was to present them in front of a judge to get a temporary injunction. Dates and clear recollection of ideas were crucial to produce a good statement, but the abuse in many cases was just a vague memory of incidents that had gone on for years. Most clients remembered vividly the first and last incident, but everything in the middle was a blur. At the time, we advised victims to keep a paper journal safe, just in case they decided to report.

A report produced by Hestia called ‘From Victim to Survivor’ demonstrated that 93% of services users had smart phones but 63% of them did not know that refuges existed until they had to flee.

It seemed to us that in the palm of our hands we had a valuable tool to disseminate information not only to victims, but also to family and friends. It was at this moment the idea of Bright Sky was born.

This project quickly came to life when global management consultancy Aspirant partnered with us. TecSOS, Thames Valley Partnership and Vodafone Foundation joined us shortly after, with the idea of improving the first version and making it into a user-friendly product that was also helpful to professional groups such as the police.

  Bright Sky  Bright Sky

One of the most used features of Bright Sky are the assessment tools. Individuals want to know if they, their family or friends are in an abuse relationship. It also has a myths assessment just to test if our perceptions of abuse are the right ones.

In times where campaigns such as #MeToo, Times Up and UK SAYS NO MORE openly discuss sexual harassment, Bright Sky joins the battle, making clear the concept of consent. Through case studies, it allows us to see some of those grey lines that remain as an excuse for further abuse.

For me, one of the most helpful tools in Bright Sky is the advice you get if you are ready to leave an abuse relationship. Through a series of steps, it provides clear guidance for what might be one of the hardest moments in somebody’s life.  You can also find a series of videos that tell you what a refuge, counselling, and IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate) service can do for you. Also, led by South Yorkshire Superintendent Natalie Shaw, a user can find a compelling video on the role of the police.

It is hard sometimes to assimilate the quick pace of technology. The 2003 version of me would have found Bright Sky of great assistance in helping hundreds of women and men who came through my door. The good news is that this is 2018 and technology is here to help us tackle a range of social issues. Today is the turn for domestic abuse through Bright Sky. 

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If you have any enquiries about Bright Sky, you can email [email protected].