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Sussex launches safety reporting app to reduce VAWG

Sussex has launched a crime reporting app to reduce violence against women and girls.

Sussex has become one of the first forces to launch a crime reporting app to improve safety of women and girls.

Safe Space Sussex has been created in partnership with more than 250 businesses to provide a network of places where people can go if they feel at risk of a potential offence.

The app, which can be downloaded like any other, works by using the mobile phone number with a named contact. Based on its location data, the app directs the user to the nearest safe space that is open.

On arrival the user can identify themselves to trained staff who will be able to offer them somewhere to wait and offer to call 999, 101 or a contact of their choice. 

They can also use an alert button which triggers a text containing their location - both the address and the what3words - to their named contact. 

But the force has also made clear to the organisations supporting the scheme they are not a replacement police service.

Business owners were told not to “get involved in any incident which has resulted in someone seeking your help” or any situation where there is an immediate risk of harm.

It’s part of a significant shift for forces to utilise the technology available from Smart phones to improve detection of offences.

British Transport Police are working with developers to create a safety app for female travellers that will enable them to not only report incidents and locations but share video and images of offenders.

Cleveland announced last year it is working on a crime reporting app to improve the reporting of non-emergency offences.

Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “While the app isn’t designed for use in an emergency, we’ve all had occasions where we find ourselves somewhere unfamiliar and feel uneasy.

 “I hope that the Safe Space Sussex app will give users peace of mind that there is somewhere nearby that they can go to for assistance should they need it.”

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