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May 21, 2019


Protect yourself from domestic abuse: Are you in a domestic abuse relationship?

It can be difficult for people to admit that they are in a domestic abuse relationship. Domestic abuse is a form of negative behaviour; it is where there is controlling, bullying, threatening, coercive or violent interactions between two parties. Domestic abuse is not limited to physical behaviour, but also includes; emotional, physical, sexual, psychological abuse and/or financial control. In the last year, an estimated two million women and men between the ages of 16-59 have been victim to domestic abuse; 1.3 million women were victim to abuse and 695,000 men were victims.[1]

For those who are experiencing domestic abuse, there is support available. One example of support is through the use of the Hollie Gazzard Trust app, ‘Hollie Guard’. Following the murder of 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard in February 2014 at the hands of her ex-partner, the charity Hollie Gazzard Trust was established to help reduce domestic violence through tailored programmes, financial supports and the promotion of healthy relationships.[1] Despite Hollie being described as a bubbly and outgoing character, she was abused, threatened and later stabbed 14 times by her ex-partner.

The Hollie Gazzard Trust has since designed a smartphone app to protect men and women from dangerous situations or encounters. The Hollie Guard app is free and offers the following features:

  • Shake your phone to generate an alert. The alert will track your location, and record audio and video evidence, which will be sent to your set emergency contact
  • Shake your phone for a second time to attract the maximum attention by having a high pitched alarm and flash strobe.
  • Notifications for lone working/ meetings with a timer
  • Tracker for when you are travelling
  • Notification for sudden declaration, non-movement and impact

This app can protect many people from abuse and can protect those people who work alone, people in a long-term relationship to those exploring dating apps/websites or making new connections. It provides a fast way to reach help when it’s needed and also puts safeguards in place so that trusted contacts know where you are. We all know if we are in danger we can call the police. However, there may be a situation where you fear making the call as you may aggravate the situation. The Hollie Guard app is worth considering even if you are not in a dangerous relationship.

Police and other professionals take domestic abuse seriously. Clare’s Law has been introduced to allow individuals to obtain information from the police to see if the person they are entering into a relationship with has previously been a perpetrator of domestic abuse. This information is information that could protect someone from being the victim of domestic abuse. Hollie’s ex-partner was known to the police for domestic violence offences. Accessing Clare’s Law is also important to safeguard yourself.

Modern technology has changed the way we live. Many of us are constantly on our phone whether for work or for personal use. Our phones connect us to the world and are key to keeping in touch and making new connections. The new connections and even some old connections we make are not always positive. This new app is another form of support for domestic abuse victims by providing safeguards and access to help in a smartphone, which is something we use every day.

Further advice regarding domestic abuse

If you are a victim of unwanted behaviours or if you are unsure whether or not you are a victim, please contact us.

There are a number of support options available through legal means that we can advise you on and support with. If you are a victim of domestic abuse from a family member, partner or ex-partner, then we could issue an application with the Family Court for an injunction. The court can make an order that can prevent all direct and indirect contact from the abuser and prevent them coming within a set distance of your home or place of work. It can also prevent an abuser asking a third party to contact you on their behalf. An injunction is usually for a set period of time and can contain a power of arrest should the order be breached.

Some people can wrongly be accused of being the perpetrator of domestic abuse. If this has happened to you, please do not hesitate to call us for legal advice.

[1] Office of National Statistics, ‘Prevalence of Domestic Abuse’ in Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2018.

[1] Hollie Gazzard Trust, ‘Why GHT’