CQUni helps Gladstone schoolgirls develop app for domestic violence victims

Published:11 September 2018

CQUni mentored a group of five Gladstone schoolgirls to develop an app called "Domestic Angels" for domestic violence victims. The app was recently named the Secondary School winner in the Australian Nationals of the Tech Girls Challenge competition. From left: Jasmine Gibson, Kasey Pfeiffer, Sarah Windsor, Georgia Green, Michaela Green and mentor, CQUniversity Lecturer Dr Jan Lewis.

A phone app, developed by five Gladstone school students with assistance from CQUniversity, that allows victims of domestic and family violence to contact police without the perpetrator knowing, was named the Australian National winner in the Secondary Schools category of the 2018 Australian Tech Girls Competition.

The Domestic Angels app, is disguised as a cleaning app and allows the victim to contact police using three, quiet, simple steps. Although the app is currently only a demonstration, discussions are underway with local authorities on how to make it active and available.

The Domestic Angels team were announced as Australian national winners on 15 September, just days after winning the Queensland finalis.

CQUniversity Lecturer Dr Jan Lewis, who mentored the girls (four from Gladstone State High School and one from Boyne Island State School), said the concept for the app was one the students settled on very early.

“When they started brainstorming they came up with about six different ideas, but they all decided to develop an app that would help victims of domestic violence because they all knew someone who had been affected by it,” she said.

Dr Lewis said over several months the students collaborated with the schools’ IT departments and local police on the design of the app and the coding that was needed to make it work.

“It helped the students with problem solving, leadership skills and critical thinking,” she said.

“With one in three women and one in five men affected by domestic and family violence, the app has a lot of potential to help people all over the world.”

Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen who launched the Tech Girls Challenge as part of the Tech Girls Movement five years ago congratulated the students on their win.

“The girls have addressed a really important problem in the community with their app,” she said.

“It’s a great example of inter-school collaboration and it’s relevant to what’s happening in regional communities.”

The girls and Dr Lewis will travel to Silicon Valley in the US in August next year for the global finals.

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