Can a Mobile App Reduce Intimate Partner Violence?

A data-driven mobile app to help break the cycle of domestic violence.

Women's Health Research at Yale
Image: Pixabay

An estimate suggests, almost 50% of women in United State experience Intimate partner violence (IPV). It describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse which affects 15 million children and adolescents.

Both victims and their children have witnessed it suffer increased poor physical and mental health, high-risk behaviors.

Having concern over this serious public issue, Dr. Trace Kershaw at the Yale University reported, planning to develop a data-driven behavioral intervention using a mobile app. He believes that the mobile app will improve decision-making for mothers and daughters exposed to violence in the home. It will also reduce high-risk behaviors and future intimate partner violence.

Women's Health Research at Yale
Dr. Trace Kershaw is developing a data-driven mobile app to help break the cycle of domestic violence.

Dr. Kershaw said, “Female adolescents affected by violence in their homes. They are particularly vulnerable to unwittingly accepting a negative cycle that can have widespread influence on the health and well-being of women across generations. We are focusing on mothers and daughters because it is essential to end this cycle.”

The app will involve interactive video graphics novellas in which participants can choose a character like themselves, make behavioral choices that lead to positive or negative consequences, and then learn from the choices they make.

Postdoctoral student Tiara Willie said, “Our approach to developing the app recognizes that IPV does not occur in isolation, that parent-child relationships are key to overcoming obstacles, and that technology easily disseminates the intervention, increasing its overall impact and reach for families.”

Using Graphic Novellas make it easy to understand complex health messages. Its interactivity helps personalize the experience and improve the participants’ comfort.

To develop the app, scientists will assemble a community advisory board composed of following terms: two experts in intimate partner violence research, two adolescents and two mothers who have been exposed to intimate partner violence, two social workers, a creative writing expert, and an expert in graphic novellas.

Scientists will then test the usability of the app with five pairs of mothers and daughters.

Kershaw said, “By working with mothers and daughters at the same time, we hope to strengthen their relationship and their ability to respond to the negative effects of violence. With new skills and confidence, both mothers and daughters will hopefully better avoid violence in future relationships.”