App assesses level of relationship danger

Bonnie Belec
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Designed to help women in potential peril measure risk factors

A free, confidential app that assesses the level of danger a woman is in when involved in a volatile relationship will hopefully get people thinking about how to help, says the RNC’s domestic violence co-ordinator.

Const. Suzanne FitzGerald said the One Love Lite smartphone app is not only a good tool for women in abusive relationships to evaluate their situations, but it is also useful for their family and friends. The app can be used by both men and women in abusive relationships.

“People are standing on the outside saying, ‘I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how much danger there is.’ This is an opportunity for them to go in and see the risk markers, what risk markers are present in this relationship,” she told The Telegram Tuesday.

“Violence is everybody’s business and this app can be used by everyone,” FitzGerald said.

The app was developed in the United States between the One Love Foundation — an organization that campaigns to combat relationship violence — and the John Hopkins University.

“RNC patrol officers are already promoting this app at the front line as a resource for victims of domestic violence. Mass promotion of the  One Love Lite App danger assessment broadens the RNC’s capacity to inform and educate high risk victims. If one woman seeks support because she completed the danger assessment, it was worthwhile.” she said.

The program, available online at, consists of a 20-item scoring instrument which uses a scoring system to assess risk factors associated with intimate partner homicide. It can be accessed at any time by entering a secure PIN, which protects the information from others.

“One of the things we found through research from people who work in this area, is when a woman recognizes what kind of danger she’s in, she’s more likely to seek assistance,” said FitzGerald, the RNC’s first full-time domestic violence co-ordinator.

She said the research gathered, mostly in the United States through the Lethality Assessment Program, revealed that once women at high risk of being killed by their partner were notified of the level of risk, one-third of them sought extensive supports  and were able to leave those relationships.

“It’s incredible when you think of it. Imagine if we can get 33 per cent of these people that are reluctant to seek supports and recognize their risk,” said FitzGerald.

In terms of intervention, if a family member or a close friend of an abused woman decides to take the assessment, she advises loved ones to tread lightly.

“Protect yourself and never become involved to the point where you are putting yourself in danger. It comes down to having an approach that will work with you and the victim,” she said.

“The first thing is, tell her you believe her and it’s not her fault. These victims are very hard on themselves. They’ve had every aspect of self-esteem taken away from them, and they’re likely very fearful — fearful of leaving. It’s about having patience and not being judgemental,” said FitzGerald.

She said the RNC has come out in support of the One Love Lite app because it’s another way to reach women at risk using technology and social media, plus it is free and accessible.

A YouTube video promotes the app and features a young couple in a glass room surrounded by friends and family. As the male actor beats and berates his female partner,  words appear over the onlookers’ heads, giving excuses as to why they don’t intervene.

It ends with an onlooker breaking the glass barrier and helping the woman to freedom after accessing the app.

“It’s pretty powerful,” FitzGerald says.

Click HERE view the video.


Organizations: John Hopkins University

Geographic location: United States

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Recent comments

  • crista
    November 27, 2013 - 12:16

    Now they got the app going out, why don't they get places for people to meet about the on going problems that is gone on and going on and start educating people and get them aware of what to look out for, and the many problems and reasons to be aware of in society.

  • Bill
    November 27, 2013 - 12:03

    I guess men will just have to put up and shut up.

  • original townie
    November 27, 2013 - 11:41

    @ Joy....interesting comment. We only see and hear about men's abuse against women, never vice versa, even though it also does happen frequently. Libbers never acknowledge this fact. People should be treated equally, regardless of gender. We may even get our own app, or a least a unisex one. Good on you.

  • Joy
    November 27, 2013 - 11:15

    Will this work to also determine the level of risk for men who are involved with women who are a potential violent risk? It is not just women living in this type of situation.