In 2011, the Office of the Vice President, the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy joined forces to create a nationwide competition to prompt software developers and innovators to use mobile technology to help prevent dating violence and abuse. Circle of 6 and On Watch won. Here’s how they works, plus two other apps that were developed to keep students safe:


Circle of 6
Born out of the 2011 “Apps Against Abuse” government challenge, this app lets students choose six trusted friends to join a “circle” and, if faced with a dangerous or unsafe situation, allows them to send a pre-written text message (which automatically includes a GPS location) to those friends with just two clicks. This app also connects students to broader networks, like the national sexual assault hotlines and emergency numbers.

On Watch
This iPhone app transmits critical information by phone, email, text, and social media to your support network. You can check in with friends, call 9-1-1 or campus police with two touches of a button, set countdown timers that send messages and GPS information automatically if events or activities don’t go according to plan, and connect to sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic abuse hotlines.

This app, created by a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, lets students track crimes on campus and anonymously report incidents of violence, bullying, rape, or sexual assault. Students can also view a map and list of reported activity and even call or send a message to 9-1-1 or campus police.

Fill in your emergency contact numbers when you first download this app. Then let it know when you’re out alone and how long it should take you to reach your destination. At that time, the app texts you to see if you made it there safely, and if you don’t reply, it’ll alert your emergency contacts.

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