Guardly is a free mobile application for smartphones that can help students and others faced with dating violence, abusive relationships or a simple desire to feel safe when walking alone at night. Guardly empowers its users by providing one-touch access to their personal safety network. Simply launching Guardly on a smartphone will instantly identify a user's location and alert family, friends as well as campus security (across the United States) that they are having an emergency. With one more tap, you can escalate your situation to 911 authorities.
Guardly allows its users to configure Groups of personal contacts for specific use cases and/or emergency scenarios, which may include “Walking Home at Night”, “Dating Abuse” and/or health conditions such as “Asthma Attack” or “Peanut Allergy”. When Guardly is used to notify a Group, they will receive a phone call, text message and email stating that the user is having an emergency, the Group name alerted (which may contain important contextual information) and the real-time location of the user.
Guardly has created virtual geofences (real-world boundaries) around every major US university and college and has associated each geofence with campus security phone numbers. When a student launches Guardly within the boundaries of a geofence, they will be connected by phone to campus security -- in addition to standard Guardly notifications that will be sent to their personal safety network. Guardly is disintermediating code-blue emergency phones, already present on most campuses, by providing one-touch mobile access to campus security from virtually any location on campus. This service will be offered for free, but will be limited to students with proper university-issued email addresses.
Guardly mobile applications are available on iPhone, Android (beta), BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
Premium Features (available as an in-app purchase, but not included for free for the HHS Apps Against Abuse challenge or otherwise)
Guardly mobile applications are capable of providing a premium service that goes beyond notifications and instantly connects users to their contacts through conference call, SMS, instant messaging and real-time location tracking throughout the duration of an incident. Additional built-in security features include the ability to snap and share photos and sound a loud whistle to deter potential assailants or draw attention to their situation.
Safe Campus Program (additional Guardly service and not included for free for the HHS Apps Against Abuse challenge)
Guardly has begun to roll-out its Safe Campus Program, which is a web-based campus security management solution that enables campus security teams to instantly respond to emergency incidents initiated through Guardly mobile applications. This is ready and available for every college and university campus across the US and improves upon their existing abilities with a technology suite that immediately identifies callers, communicates with them by voice and instant messaging, and tracks their location in real-time as an incident evolves. Our vision is to put code-blue emergency posts onto mobile devices of each student, faculty and staff member on campus, to reduce emergency response times and to reduce the number of violent and criminal acts that occur on campus.
Privacy is extremely important to Guardly. In particular, real-time location data will only be tracked and shared during an emergency incident and when triggered specifically by a user. Users have the ability to decide who will be alerted in case of emergency; only those contacts granted access will see personal information shared by the user with Guardly.
Guardly (unlike: “Stop DV” or “IPV App”) is a non-obvious name and can be positioned -- even to potential domestic violence partners -- as a tool that is good for one’s general safety. This is beneficial since a potentially violent domestic partner may see Guardly installed on a mobile phone without drawing a direct connection back to them.
In general, Guardly will delete non-essential personal information collected within reasonable time frames, in accordance with privacy legislation; however, exceptions will be made for court orders and similar legal proceedings where personal information must be retained for extended periods of time. More information at: https://www.guardly.com/privacy
Guardly is designed to maximize personal security, knowing that friends, family, campus security and/or 9-1-1 are all just a tap away.
With regards to personal information, Guardly has security measures in place to protect against the loss, misuse and unauthorized alteration of the information under our control. We keep account information on a secure server behind a firewall and protected with multiple levels of authorization and access control. Sensitive information, such as passwords, is stored with encryption and all data is transferred using secure socket layer technology (SSL).
Guardly maintains a long list of Recommended Safe Community Organizations online to help support those seeking local organizations that can assist in providing further education, awareness techniques and strategies to live a safer lifestyle. This list is accessible through mobile web and web to those seeking information, but is not included within the app so as to preserve its key function -- to instantly reach your safety network without complicating or cluttering the user experience.
Violence, threats, serious injury and other traumas can be very difficult for survivors to manage. For trauma survivors who experience trauma triggers, startle responses or other anxiety related responses, Guardly groups can be used to engage the support network needed for reassurance and to help the individual in distress get back to a safe place.
Violence and Abuse Prevention Partners
Guardly has partnered with Maryland-based Witness Justice (http://www.witnessjustice.org), a national organization that provides advocacy and support on issues ranging from intimate partner violence on college campuses to victims’ rights. Witness Justice also provides a vast array of survivor resources including national hotline numbers, what to do in the 24 hours after a violent crime, crime prevention, safety and frequently asked questions. Witness Justice also just released the first intimate partner violence screening tool for use on college campuses, which is focused on awareness and violence prevention.
Guardly has also partnered with Washington DC-based Becky’s Fund (http://beckysfund.org), which develops prevention-based educational programs to counter domestic violence and communicates ways to change the behavior and thinking behind issues that cause and perpetuate domestic violence. Becky’s Fund recently launched the 6th leg of its National Domestic Violence College Tour, which has reached over 35 schools. This tour raises awareness and education about domestic and dating violence, and informs students about technology-based tools that can assist immediately prior to and during a violent incident.