EMBARGOED: 19:00 15 May 2018

Vodafone Foundation and Hestia launch the UK’s first app to provide nationwide domestic abuse support

15 May 2018: The Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, and Hestia, London’s leading domestic abuse charity, are launching Bright Sky, a free and unique mobile app to help people affected by domestic abuse.

According to a survey by Hestia, 1 in 3 people in the UK would not know how to help a friend or family member who was a victim of domestic abuse. The findings highlight the need for Bright Sky, the first smartphone app to provide a UK-wide directory of specialist domestic abuse support services. Bright Sky enables users to locate their nearest support centre by searching their area, postcode or current location.

Designed to log incidents of domestic abuse without any content being saved on the device itself, the app enables users to record incidents in a secure journal tool, using a text, audio, video or photo function.

The app provides comprehensive support and information to people affected by abuse, and also acts as a resource and source of advice for people wanting to help others. A short questionnaire helps users assess the safety of a relationship and there is information about different forms of abuse, the types of support available, steps to consider if leaving an abusive relationship and how to help a friend affected by domestic abuse.

The Bright Sky app brings together the Vodafone Foundation’s expertise from its work with TecSOS – the technology it developed to help people at the highest risk of domestic violence – and Hestia’s wealth of experience in supporting those affected by domestic abuse.

The Hestia survey, carried out by market research company Opinium, also found that:

  • Almost 2 in 5 surveyed (38%) have either suspected or been made aware that someone they knew had been a victim of domestic abuse
  • 29% of people surveyed would not feel confident giving advice to those suffering domestic abuse and 14% don’t know how confident they’d feel. For those who’ve never been aware of domestic abuse in other relationships, this rises to a third.

 The Bright Sky app is part of the Vodafone Foundation’s portfolio of TecSOS products and services, which use technology and connectivity to support people affected by domestic abuse. Previous TecSOS technology has helped over 82,000 vulnerable people across five countries. The specially-adapted technology enables users to contact the police quickly and discreetly when they feel under threat.

Since it launched in the UK in 2011, TecSOS has been adopted by 40 out of 43 UK Police forces and has given over 14,000 UK users a sense of protection and security, with over 1,900 activations in the UK alone. TecSOS was credited with saving at least seven lives over an eight-month period in an independent evaluation of one Police Force. The initiative also operates in Spain, where the project was originally developed, Ireland, Germany and Portugal.

The Bright Sky app is available in English, Urdu, Punjabi or Polish and is free to download on both iOS and Android devices on the App Store and Google Play Store. To learn more about the app, please visit: http://www.hestia.org/brightsky/

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Women Victoria Atkins said

“The Government’s consultation on domestic abuse, which closes at the end of May, is designed to transform society’s response to how we tackle these devastating crimes.

“However, with nearly two million people in Britain abused each year by those closest to them, we must combine new laws and intervention projects with better practical support for victims.

“The new Bright Sky app is precisely the type of initiative which can help victims, families and their friends reach the help and support they need.”

Helen Lamprell, a Trustee of the Vodafone Foundation and General Counsel & External Affairs Director at Vodafone UK said:

“The Vodafone Foundation is committed to using connectivity and technology to support vulnerable people. Domestic abuse affects families right across the UK. Building on our TecSOS programme, which has helped thousands of people experiencing domestic abuse over the past seven years, Bright Sky aims to support those affected by abuse and provides a resource for people wanting to help them.”

Patrick Ryan, Hestia CEO said:

“Domestic abuse sadly touches the lives of everyone in the UK, either directly or through our friends, family and colleagues. For someone who is a victim of domestic abuse, the support they get from their friends and family can be lifesaving. It is heart-breaking to think that so many of us wouldn’t know how to help our loved one in their hour of need. Bright Sky’s innovative features can put an end to this. By simply downloading the app onto our phone, we can all play our part in ending domestic abuse.”