Assault app to 'empower' women

A FREE app that uses GPS technology to report sexual assaults anonymously will be up and running early next year.

The Centre Against Sexual Assault is getting the app made to help lower barriers for assaulted women who don't want to report incidents.

The head of CASA south-east branch, Carolyn Worth, said the agency was developing the app to record patterns of crime against women. The CASA app will allow users to anonymously post details about threatening sexual behaviour, including the time and place incidents occurred and descriptions of alleged offenders. The data collected will then be given to police.

Ms Worth said the app would be the first of its kind in Australia. The idea to develop it came about after the death of 29-year-old Brunswick woman Jillian Meagher in September.

"Several women went on Facebook in the days after Jill disappeared and said they had experienced similar incidents around Sydney Road, but none of them had reported them to the police," Ms Worth said.

Moorabbin Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) Detective Sergeant Matt Campbell welcomed apps that used GPS to track offenders.

"Any app that provides co-ordinates would certainly assist us," he said.

Ms Worth said the "Crime Stoppers style" app was targeted to women who would not usually report an assault.

But she said it would not provide the same level of detail as its American counterparts, which show sex offenders with headshots on a map. She labelled those apps as a "bad idea".

"Our app is about empowering women, not pulling up a list of who lives where," she said.

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