Smartphone app could save domestic violence victims' lives - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Smartphone app could save domestic violence victims' lives

The Aspire News app looks like any other news aggregator: Displaying headlines, even providing news stories. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The Aspire News app looks like any other news aggregator: Displaying headlines, even providing news stories. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC/WMBF) - Conversation continues in the Mid-South region of Tennessee about domestic violence following the tragic murder-suicide in which Charles Thomas shot and killed his wife Tasha.

Domestic violence awareness advocates encourage women experiencing abuse to seek help, but some simple tools can also be a potentially lifesaving alert system.

The Aspire News app looks like any other news aggregator: Displaying headlines, even providing news stories. But there is a way to activate this app to notify someone you're in need of help.

All you have to do is tap the top of the app three times, the phone will start recording the sound around you, and send that to your trusted contracts. The trusted contacts will receive a text message with your location, a message, and a recording of the incident.

It's just one way to ensure your safety.

"You can't predict what someone else will do," Family Safety Center Director of Client Services Vernetta Eddleman said.

That is one of the hardest parts about domestic violence: Once the victim gets away, they aren't always guaranteed safety and need to have a plan in place just in case. This is especially true if the abuser is already following you around or stalking you on social media.

"They may not be, per se right in front of the person, but they may be stalking them through Facebook and through Twitter. Saying, 'I know where you are and I see where you are,'" Eddleman said.

The Aspire app uses GPS location technology to help victims in an emergency.

So how do you access it? In the corner there is a "Help" tab. Clicking on that allows you to set up your contacts, use your location to find shelters, and other resources.

If for any reason you need to get out of the help section, all you have to do is press the x in the corner, and the app will reset.

Experts say this should not replace 911 but can be a good resource for anyone who is worried for their safety.

The bottom line is once you get to a safe place call a help hotline like the Family Safety Center at 901-222-4400.

Also you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Read more about resources here, but please be mindful that your computer usage can be tracked.

There are also local shelters around the area to assist victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse:

Horry County

Citizens Against Spouse Abuse

P.O. Box 912

Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

Hotline 843-448-6206

Phone 843-293-2270

Georgetown County

Citizens Against Spouse Abuse

P.O. Box 912

Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

Hotline 843-448-6206

Phone 843-293-2270

Williamsburg County

Pee Dee Coalition

P.O. Box 1351

Florence, SC 29503

Hotline 800-273-1820

Phone 843-354-6481

Marlboro County

Pee Dee Coalition

P.O. Box 1351

Florence, SC 29503

Hotline 800-273-1820

Phone 843-479-0882

Marion County

Pee Dee Coalition

P.O. Box 1351

Florence, SC 29503

Hotline 800-273-1820

Phone 843-423-6568

Florence County

Pee Dee Coalition

P.O. Box 1351

Florence, SC 29503

Hotline 800-273-1820

Phone 843-669-4694

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