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Safety app for vulnerable women

Published Friday 1 March, 2024
Last updated on Monday 18 March, 2024

Domestic abuse charities will be able to provide vulnerable women and girls with a paid version of a personal safety app, thanks to Swale Borough Council.

The council is paying for 50 annual subscriptions of the Hollie Guard app, which SATEDA, Newleaf and Clarion will provide to vulnerable women and girls they work with.

The funding is part of the council's safer streets project, which aims to tackle antisocial behaviour, and violence against women and girls, in Sittingbourne and Sheerness town centres.

The app acts as a secure and discrete personal alarm and deterrent which can monitor a user’s location, planned routes and meeting times.

It can then raise an alert with emergency contacts and, with these paid subscriptions, a 24/7 monitoring centre if the user doesn't confirm they’re safe.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee, said:

“Our safer streets project is already making a difference in Sheerness and Sittingbourne, with uniformed marshals patrolling the town centres, improving lighting and funding for more youth services.

“Providing the Hollie Guard app for free is a good way to help the vulnerable women and girls feel safer and secure, with the reassurance that there is someone checking they’re safe 24/7.

“We are committed to preventing violence against everyone but particularly against women and girls, and with this funding SATEDA will be able to help us reach that goal.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice chair of the community committee, said:

“These charities do amazing and important work to support victims of domestic abuse, and I’m happy we are able to support this by funding the app’s subscriptions for some of the people they support.

“We still have a lot planned to make sure people feel safe in these town centres and our officers are working hard to deliver as much as we can.

“We want Swale to be a safe place for everyone, and this project will help us get closer to achieving that.”

Funding for the campaign came from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, after the council – through the Community Safety Partnership – worked with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to successfully bid for the funding.

Carey Philpott, CEO of SATEDA, said:

“SATEDA welcomes all initiatives to help women feel safer and are thankful to Swale Borough Council for their continual support to end VAWG.

“We provide services to women who, are at times, at serious risk of harm and we recognise how tools including the Hollie Guard app can help to increase feeling of safety and provide a mechanism for recording evidence.”

Amanda Walker, CEO of New Leaf Support Domestic Abuse Service, said:

“We are privileged to be part of the Safer Streets campaign working with Kent Police & Swale Borough Council, with the role out of the Hollie Guard app.

“New Leaf Support will be able to use the enhanced app for our vulnerable clients to help them feel safer in the community and at home.”

Sally Notridge, IDVA Service Manager at Clarion, said:

“As KCC’s commissioned service we have provided support and advice to residents of Swale experiencing domestic abuse for the past 7 years.

“We are delighted to be able to offer the Advanced Hollie Guard App to our most vulnerable clients.

“This opportunity will allow us to enhance the safety planning and safeguarding that we already provide.

“The additional features in the enhanced app will empower our clients and promote their independence.”

ENDS

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