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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Free app aims to prevent sex attacks

The Safety Alert app by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) has received 6,056 downloads for both the iPhone and Android versions
The Straits Times - February 25, 2013
By: Debbie Lee
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Free app aims to prevent sex attacks

SIX months after its launch in Singapore, a free mobile app which aims to prevent women from being sexually assaulted, has gained traction here and overseas.

The Safety Alert app by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) has received 6,056 downloads for both the iPhone and Android versions, said the YWCA.

It added that downloads from India form the bulk of overseas downloads, possibly owing to heightened security issues following a string of rape cases there.

The app gives off a shrill alarm at the touch of a button, which could scare off would-be attackers or molesters.

And as the alarm goes off, the app can also automatically send an e-mail to a preset list of contacts - complete with an attached Google map pinpointing the user's location.

Alternatively, a call can be made to an emergency contact with the press of another button.

There is also the option of tapping on a "silent alert" button which will just raise an alert with the selected contacts.

Users of the app laud its multiple functions.

"The 'silent alert' notification is useful as the alarm might have its limitations in some cases," said Ms Cassandra Lew, 24.

But others are concerned about the practicality of the app. "It is quite common for me to forget to lock my iPhone, so I'm worried that the alarm will be triggered unintentionally," said Ms Yeo Xin Zi, 21.

Still, the app has been so popular that even the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) is developing its own app, which secretly records shouting as evidence of verbal abuse.

Said Aware's executive director Corinna Lim: "These efforts give women more options when it comes to protecting themselves."

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