- Title: App to fight domestic abuse developed by teen girls launches in Albania
- Date: 11th October 2019
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SMARTPHONE SCREENS WITH APP ON IT
- Embargoed: 25th October 2019 19:13
- Keywords: helpline girls in tech applications domestic violence violence against women women in tech domestic abuse Albania young developers
- Location: TIRANA, ALBANIA AND ANIMATION
- City: TIRANA, ALBANIA AND ANIMATION
- Country: Albania
- Topics: Information Technologies / Computer Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA002B0NL7I1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: FACE OF ONE SPEAKER IN THIS EDIT WAS BLURRED FOR SECURITY REASONS
An app aimed to help victims of domestic violence access support in Albania became available to users on Friday (October 11). The app was developed by three 16-year-old girls and is expected to help tackle a huge problem in the country, where one in two women suffered abuse last year, according to a survey.
The app is named GjejZÃ¢, (Find your Voice). The teenagers behind it won an international technology competition for girls in the United States.
"Violence against women is a huge issue in Albania and it also affects us as teenage girls because we see the early stages of this even in our peers, in our friends," said Jonada Shukarasi, one of the developers.
One in two women suffers violence in Albania, said Iris Luarasi, the head of a national hotline for abused women, citing a 2018 survey, and 4,000 cases were reported in 2018.
A new report by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) found almost 9 in 10 women consider violence against women to be common in Albania, and that 97% of victims of intimate in-house violence never report it to the police.
Known as the D3c0ders, the girls - Arla Hoxha, Dea Rrozhani and Jonada Shukarasi - learned how to code and create applications four years ago through an outreach program run by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana.
News of their award in the Technovation Challenge competition has stoked national pride in Albania, an ex-communist country that is now a NATO member endeavouring to join the European Union.
The girls have received widespread coverage and congratulations from senior government officials.
This year's competition required participants to build an app that tackled social problems, so the girls decided to focus on gender-based violence. They worked with psychologists, a deputy interior minister and women's issues experts.
Users answer a series of questions which helps them identify if they are victims of domestic violence, and the app offers them testimonies from women who have escaped abuse and encouragement to report it.
The scope of the app is huge - it provides breathing exercises to help women, connects them to state officials in every town who can help them secure restraining orders and access benefits. It also advises on employment opportunities and shelters.
Women can download the app, and get in touch with the police and support groups by phone or instant messaging. Mobile phone ownership is high in Albania - a population of 2.8 million uses 4.63 million mobile phones.
Romina Kuko, Albania's deputy interior minister, regretted the number of attacks remained high, but added Albania was fighting domestic violence with full force.
(Production: Bardh Krasniqi, Florion Goga)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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