New app for bystanders to help curb domestic and family violence

In Australia, one woman a week dies from domestic violence1. For every person lost to domestic violence, there are friends, family members, colleagues or neighbours that thought, at one time or another, something wasn’t quite right.

Witnessing domestic violence as a bystander can be a confronting and unsettling experience. Often, we’re filled with self-doubt and uncertainty – unsure if what we’re seeing is something to be concerned about or if doing something will make it worse.

So, what can we do if someone we care about is experiencing violence or using violence in their relationship and how do we do it safely? In 2020, the Griffith University MATE bystander program, Telstra and The Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, came together to help answer that very question.

After several months of research, working closely with advocacy groups, police, service providers, academics, survivors of domestic violence and the family and friends of women lost to violence - a design for a mobile app was created to help people feel safe, empowered and supported to safely intervene in situations of domestic violence.

The ‘Be there’ mobile app helps bystanders understand a challenging situation in a relationship, shape an approach and be there for someone they care about. The app provides digestible, tailored, and plain-language content based on their experience. It guides users to safe intervention strategies, allows for pin-protected journaling - to remember the moments that matter and has links to professional support services.

“We’re trying to make it easier for Queenslanders to identify what domestic violence is and be able to respond earlier and appropriately to what can usually be a complex and difficult situation.”

Hon Shannon Fentiman - Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.

Telstra Purple worked alongside Shaan Ross-Smith and Anoushka Dowling from the Griffith University MATE Bystander program, with support from the Queensland Government, to make the mobile app a reality. Our expertise in bespoke app development and human centred design meant we were able to translate their vision into a seamless user experience that safely guides bystanders to the tools they need to safely intervene.

“When we embarked on this journey to change the world through a first of its kind bystander app, we were fortunate enough to partner with the incredible humans at Telstra Purple. They guided us through the development process and along the way we built an incredible trust for the knowledge they brought to the table. Their integrity, tenacity and kindness meant we felt supported throughout the entire journey and the outcome speaks for itself.”

Shann Ross-Smith – Director, MATE Program, Griffith University

Telstra Purple’s involvement in the design and development of this app demonstrates our commitment to taking steps to curb domestic and family violence as well as bringing purpose to technology.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000.

Other support services

Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) – The National Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Counselling Service offers confidential online and telephone counselling, information and referral services.

Call the Telstra SAFE team (1800 452 566) – our specially trained consultants help victim-survivors stay safely connected to their Telstra services.

Ask Izzy – Ask Izzy is a website that connects people in need with housing, a meal, money help, family violence support, counselling and much more. It is free and anonymous, and if you’re on the Telstra mobile network, you can access Ask Izzy on your phone even if you don’t have credit or access to Wi-Fi.

Free national calls on Telstra payphones – follow this link to find your nearest payphone.