Samaritans is set to develop a domestic violence resource app after winning a $50,000 grant in the Optus Future Makers Program.
The ‘iWareness’ app will help young people who are experiencing, witnessing or at risk of domestic violence by connecting them with the most appropriate support service in their area. The app will also incorporate innovative features such as a disguise mode to ensure the safety and privacy of users.
A Samaritans spokesperson said that they recognises the help-seeking behaviour of young people is changing, so engaging youth on a digital platform is essential. iWareness provides a 24/7 solution where victims of domestic violence can seek support discreetly, safely and privately from the convenience of their own mobile device.
The Optus Future Makers Program aims to foster digital innovation to help vulnerable youth. Over 180 not-for-profits and social entrepreneurs applied for the program hoping to bring their digital idea to life. Only 11 applicants were successful in being selected for Optus Future Makers, which included a series of workshops with industry experts and mentors.
Penny Harnett represented Samaritans to develop the idea into a sustainable business model with a scalable pathway. Of the 11 hopefuls only six were successful in securing the $50,000 grant following an intense three minute pitch from each of the participants.
The panel of four judges, including Jan Own CEO of Foundation for Young Australians and Daniel Flynn, Founder of Thankyou, saw huge potential for iWareness to have a great social impact.
Samaritans will use the funds to engage an app developer to design the product, which is anticipated to be launched in 2017.
Samaritans is a regional welfare agency providing disability services, disability care, youth, family, mental health and community support in Newcastle and several regions of NSW.