New app helps community act against DV

Nick GibbsAAP
Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman says the app shows how to recognise the warning signs.
Camera IconQueensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman says the app shows how to recognise the warning signs. Credit: AAP

Enabling people to spot the insidious signs of domestic violence and advising how to intervene are the goals of a new app launched in Queensland.

The 'Be there' app contains tools to recognise different forms of abuse including coercive control and "navigate a safe way to support someone without making the situation worse".

"It's all about putting the power back into the hands of family, friends and neighbours (and) how to recognise the signs of a violent or controlling relationship," Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said.

The app is the result of a partnership between the state government, Griffith University's MATE Bystander program and Telstra.

"We know that as we approach Christmas and summer holidays, it can be a really dangerous time for some families," she said, reminding residents that support services are available throughout the period.

The family of Kelly Wilkinson, who was allegedly murdered in a horrific attack on the Gold Coast in April, attended the app's launch on Wednesday.

Had it existed a year ago, Kelly's sister Danielle Carroll and her husband Rhys said things would have been "totally different".

"In our situation we didn't ... consider it to be as bad as what it was because we weren't seeing people getting physically abused," Rhys said.

"To have that sort of information there in the in the app, to show you that what you're saying is actually really dangerous and needs to be addressed ... it's just a priceless tool."

Director of the MATE Bystander program Shaan Ross-Smith said the app was about empowering people to be there for others.

"MATE already delivers person-to-person training, online webinars and other modules, and the Be there app is another way to empower us to challenge a conversation, behaviour, or a sense that something isn't OK, before it's too late," Ms Ross-Smith said.

The launch follows the release of an extensive report examining domestic violence in Queensland by the state's Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce.

Among its 89 recommendations were the staged introduction of coercive control as an offence and a fresh inquiry into Queensland Police culture.

Ms Fentiman said the government would respond to the report next year.

The app is available in the Apple and Android stores.

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