ONC Partners with the Vice President’s Office for Apps Against Abuse Challenge

Penelope Hughes | September 7, 2011

As a former vice president at RAINN Exit Disclaimer (the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network), I was thrilled to learn of the Apps Against Abuse challenge being launched by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in coordination with Vice President Biden’s office.

At RAINN, I led development of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline Exit Disclaimer, the nation’s first online hotline providing secure, confidential, and real-time support for survivors of sexual violence.

There I saw firsthand the ability of technology, when carefully and properly applied, to transform a service and provide much needed support to many more people than traditional service methods could reach.

In RAINN’s case, technology enabled thousands more people to access critical support and provided a new way for those unable to talk about their experience by phone to still get the help they needed and take steps toward recovery.

Apps Against Abuse Challenge

The Apps Against Abuse challenge is aimed at young people age 18 to 25 – a demographic that has integrated technology into almost every aspect of their lives.  Unfortunately, this age group is also uniquely vulnerable to sexual assault.

Applying the technology this generation has embraced to one of the most serious threats they face has tremendous potential.

The Apps Against Abuse challenge wants people age 18 to 25 to help be part of the solution – young people are being encouraged to work with their peers and with developers to create these apps.

For example, imagine an app that:

  • Has tips for recognizing situations that may escalate toward violence
  • Allows friends and peers to form personal support networks
  • Connects someone with the person closest to them in situations that are getting out of control

We need your help in finding the next great innovation to prevent domestic violence.

The more people involved in developing creative apps to prevent sexual assault, the more effective the apps will be, so please help get the word out about this exciting challenge!

There are not currently any apps in any app store addressing this challenge. We need as many developers, students, and others as possible working on solutions to this very serious problem.  I invite you to join me in promoting and following this important challenge.  I can’t wait to see what is developed to help more young people and their peers stay safe and avoid sexual violence.

How to Get More Info and Get Involved

For additional details: