New app to help end violence against women with disability

Posted 2 weeks ago by Nicole Pope

Sunny is a free app that will help women in vulnerable situations recognise violence and call for help [Source: WWDA Twitter]
Sunny is a free app that will help women in vulnerable situations recognise violence and call for help [Source: WWDA Twitter]

Women with disability experiencing violence will have better access to information and support with a new smartphone app launched in the last week. 

The new app named Sunny, has been developed by 1800RESPECT, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and an advisory group of women with disability, alongside $600,000 in funding from the Government.

The free app uses easy to read language to help users understand the different forms of violence, including sexual and reproductive health violence, physical, psychological, financial and restraint violence.

Sunny will also help women in vulnerable situations recognise violence through interactive stories and information on rights, such as discrimination, decision-making, sex and safe and respectful relationships.

Alongside these key functions, women will have the chance to share their own experiences through an innovative custom keyboard function.

If in immediate danger, Sunny can assist users in calling emergency services, or help women take action earlier by calling a 1800RESPECT counsellor either directly or through the National Relay Service or National Translation or Interpretation Service.

Acting President of WWDA Pamela Menere says “Sunny is an app made by women with disability, for women with disability, and of this, we couldn’t be more proud.”

“Sunny is a ground-breaking resource for women with disability, not only because of its content, but because women with disability were involved at every stage of the development project,” she says.

Board member of WWDA and expert advisory group member Monique Crowden is thrilled to have been involved in the app development from start to finish.

“We have the right to speak for ourselves and to make our own decisions. We have the right to live free of violence. Sunny helps us do this.”

Executive Director of WWDA Carolyn Frohmader highlights 1 in 3 women experience violence worldwide with women with disability even more likely to experience instances of violence.

“Women with disability often face barriers to reporting violence and getting support and there is a dearth of accessible information on the nature of violence and abuse that they face.”

“Sunny is one way we can address these barriers,” she says.

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services the Hon Sarah Henderson MP and Assistant Minister for Children and Families the Hon Michelle Landry MP launched the app in Canberra today (Tuesday 27 November).

“According to the 2016 Personal Safety Survey, 46.4 per cent of women who had experienced violence by a partner in the last 12 months had some form of disability or a long-term health condition,” Assistant Minister Landry says.

“Developed for women with disability, by women with disability, Sunny recognises that every woman who experiences family and domestic abuse and sexual assault has a unique story.”

Alongside the exciting new app, it was also announced 1800RESPECT will receive $10.9 million in Government funding to continue its valued work and meet ongoing demand for counsellors.

“This multifaceted service provides vital support to Australians when they need it most, and we want to make sure it’s equipped to meet rising demand,” Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher says.

Sunny is available for download on the App Store or Google Play Store.

For more information on the app, click here.

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