Incognito app: Federal government is promoting “silent emergency calls” for women with 1.7 million euros

According to statistics from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), a woman died on almost every third day in 2019 as a result of an act of violence by her partner or ex-partner. Reason enough for the Federal Ministry of Justice to fund the work on an “incognito app” and its subsequent operation with a total of 1,698,000 euros between 2021 and 2023. The mobile application is intended to help women who are at risk of domestic violence.

The app project is being developed by the association “Nonviolent in the Future”, founded in Berlin in mid-June, together with partners such as the Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office. It should not be easily recognizable on the smartphone and should enable a silent emergency call in acute dangerous situations. Affected women can also keep a hidden violence diary according to the plan and document assaults in a secure log that is legally binding.

The application is also intended to provide a guide, for example to competent authorities as well as social, legal and psychological information. The Hanover region is planned as the first test area. The idea for this came from Stefanie Knaab, who works as a research assistant at the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS) and heads “Nonviolent in the Future”. With her project, she won a federal government hackathon and was thus already supported in the “Solution Enabler” program for initiatives that were particularly worthy of funding.

“With the camouflage app we are giving those affected by domestic violence a new low-threshold offer to free themselves from violent situations”, said Knaab confidently on Friday after a meeting with Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD). “For many women, their own home can be a place of horror”, explained the head of department. “Many find it very difficult to sound the alarm and seek help to protect themselves and often their own children.”

“The Corona period may have exacerbated the situation because life has shifted to your own four walls,” suspects Lambrecht. Acts of violence are often not reported out of shame or fear. The Social Democrat underlined: “That is why we want to promote the development of a hidden smartphone app,” which could give those affected a means of defense.

From the BKA figures go furtherthat in the previous year a woman was injured or attacked by her partner or ex-partner on average every 45 minutes. In total, there were more than 141,000 victims of committed and attempted crimes of intimate partner violence in 2019, 0.7 percent more than in 2018. The dark field is considered large, since many crimes are not reported and committed in secret in one’s own home.

The funding is included in the draft budget for the 2021 federal budget, which the Bundestag budget committee agreed on Friday night. The federal government is to spend 498.62 billion euros in the coming year, 85.22 billion more than planned by the federal government. The new debt rises to 179.82 billion euros.


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