Griffith University: Launch of world-first app to combat domestic violence

Griffith University’s MATE program has developed a world-leading smartphone app designed to help prevent domestic and family violence.

The Motivating Action Through Empowerment (MATE) Bystander program partnered with the Queensland Government and Telstra on the ‘Be there’ app, which was officially launched this week.

The app provides tips to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship and advice on intervening safely to protect friends and family impacted by violence.

Directors of the MATE Bystander program Shaan Ross-Smith and Anoushka Dowling said it was a critical tool that empowered people to be there for friends and family.

“We all know of somebody who has been affected in some way by domestic violence and we all want to know what we can do to help,” Ms Ross-Smith said.

“The app will empower bystanders with the information they need to make informed decisions and intervene in safe and respectful ways.”

“MATE already delivers person-to-person training, online webinars and other modules and the Be there app is another way to empower us to challenge a conversation, behaviour or a sense that something isn’t ok, before it is too late.”

Ms Ross-Smith said the partnership between Griffith University, state government and Telstra demonstrated the need for a united front in tackling domestic and family violence.

“It’s been a fantastic collaboration between the MATE Bystander program, government and private enterprise,” she said.

“By itself, the app won’t stop domestic and family violence, but we want to help people look for the signs of violence, provide support and report it.”

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the app was a vital part of the Government’s domestic and family violence prevention strategy.

“Across the State our communities have been deeply impacted by recent tragic events and we know people want to do more to put a stop to violence against women,” she said.

“That’s why we have partnered with the Griffith University MATE Bystander program and Telstra to develop the Be there app to make it even easier for Queenslanders to access vital information they need to support a friend or family member experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV).

“The community has been coming out in force, at rallies and vigils, declaring ‘enough is enough’. This app will be aimed at these very people who are determined that they won’t let this happen to their friends, family and loved ones.

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

Ms Fentiman said it was wonderful to see Griffith University lending its expertise to address this vital issue.

“Griffith University have really led the way in working with bystanders and the community to play their part in tackling domestic and family violence. I’m so proud of this partnership.”

Telstra’s General Manager of Queensland Government Business Gaven Nicholls said Telstra was committed to making a positive difference in the community for those affected by domestic and family violence.

“We are really proud to have partnered with Telstra Purple, our technology services arm, to work with Griffith University and the State Government to develop the software and design work needed for this incredibly important resource,” he said.

Griffith University’s MATE Program is an education and intervention project that helps challenge problematic behaviour around domestic violence, including coercive control.

‘Be there’ is an initiative delivered by Griffith University’s MATE Bystander Program, with funding support from the Queensland Government, powered by Telstra.