Often the only thing a woman has when separating from a threatening partner is her mobile phone.
Now that phone can be the tool needed to break down the isolation and threat that is so common for too many women in this situation. Separation is the most dangerous time for a woman and her children.
A new free, easy-to-use national App called Re-focus puts legal advice, referrals on domestic violence support, accommodation, financial help and coping tips at the fingertips of any woman with a smart phone.
Re-focus has been developed by the highly-trained and experienced legal team of women from the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) for women who have, or are thinking of separating. Follow this link for details and how to download Re-focus.
Re-focus will help give well-considered advice to as well as ‘live link’ referrals that can be activated with a tap on the screen.
Shockingly, most of the women that use our service have suffered domestic violence. In fact, one in three women over the age of 15 will suffer some form of violence in their lives and one in six will experience domestic violence.
Domestic violence survivor Rachel Kayrooz (pictured with Senator Michaelia Cash) who spoke at the launch of Re-focus, said such an App would have made a big difference to her fight for survival.
Rachel’s story is as inspiring as it is shocking, but nothing like this existed when she was experiencing the brutality that left her with lifelong injuries and risked the life of her unborn baby.
“I felt completely isolated and had no idea about my rights or the help that may have been available,” Rachel told the launch.
“Access to the information and services in Re-focus would have reinforced I was not alone and that an exit strategy with support was an option.”
“Abusers utilise control over every aspect of your life including any pathways that lead to your escape –information, professional help, friends, relatives and money.”
“There are unfortunately many women who cannot download the App due to the risk of the perpetrator detecting it on their phone. I therefore urge anyone who even suspects a woman they know is at risk, to download it instead and show it to the victim in a safe environment, away from prying eyes and ears.”
Re-focus takes the user through a quick and simple ‘yes, no, maybe’ quiz that the App then uses to gather all the relevant information needed for her specific situation.
It includes information on domestic violence, children, property, financial support, reaching an agreement and safe accommodation.
Many women are not aware that domestic violence is broader than physical abuse and can include sexual, emotional, financial, verbal, spiritual or cultural abuse and stalking against you or your children. Re-focus asks about this to help women understand their situation.
Re-focus also includes special coping tips to help build the resilience of women going through separation or post-separation difficulties.
The specially-designed tips by mindfulness experts Mind Gardener focus on simple steps to help overcome five common feelings: out of control; anxious; frustrated; regret and remorse; and feeling stuck.
The App advises women to ensure their phone is password protected or to think before downloading it if they have any concerns their phone may not be secure from a threatening partner.
WLS is grateful for the support of the Commonwealth Department of Social Services that funded Re-focus as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
The support of Senator Michaelia Cash, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Women, at the launch was an important statement that domestic violence is a national problem that needs national solutions.
Senator Cash spoke of the shocking statistics of abuse against women – such as one woman is murdered each week by their partner or ex-partner – and the plans the government has to turn them around.
We hope news of Re-focus – which is just one small step – spreads far and wide so that at risk women can get the information, contacts and coping tips they need to move to a better, safer place in their lives.