Date:  Nov. 14, 2012




Four Winners of App Challenge to Prevent Domestic Violence Announced


WASHINGTON — The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Avon Foundation for Women today announced the four winners of a global challenge aimed at preventing domestic violence.  The contest, "Ending Violence @ Home App Challenge," invited individuals from the fields of domestic violence prevention and communications technologies to combine their skills to raise awareness about violence and help prevent domestic abuse through an original app.  The winning products were selected from 19 submissions from nine countries and were chosen on the basis of their innovation, design, potential impact, ability to integrate evidence-based information, and usability in different settings.


The top prize of $10,000 went to the developers of Çocuktan Al Haberi, or Wisdom of the Children.  Based on the premise that change can start with something as simple as language, this website encourages people in Turkey, especially parents and children, to create positive new expressions out of old sayings that condone violence.  As is the case in many nations, the Turkish language includes expressions that reinforce gender roles and conventional social mores, such as "don't spare a baby from your wife's belly and rod from her back."  Çocuktan Al Haberi offers a Mad Libs-like activity in which users suggest words to create new sayings, such as "don't spare soup from a women's belly and sunscreen from her back."  Although people of any age can participate, the creators developed a look and activities to appeal to children with the intent of instilling healthy values at an early age.  Participants can upload their or their children's new versions of old sayings and site visitors can vote on their favorites.  The site also will direct people to resources if they are victims of violence. 


Members of the winning team are Erin Eisinger, Nese Hacisalihoglu, Kerem Özcan, Selma Sönmez, Ahmet Ugurel, and Sezen Tekin Bas.  Çocuktan Al Haberi is online at 


Second place and a prize of $7,500 was awarded to the team that created Circle of 6, a mobile app and Facebook pledge designed to prevent dating violence on university campuses.  Every year, more than 20 percent of college women are sexually assaulted or involved in a violent relationship.  The Circle of 6 app enables users to quickly call for aid and prevent violence before it happens.  Users select circle members from their contact lists.  If in need, they can send their circle preprogrammed SMS messages that communicate where they are and how their network can help; for example, by calling or coming to get the user.  The app also comes with preprogrammed hotline numbers, and users can add a local helpline of their choice.  The Facebook pledge page gives young people a public way to announce that they will not tolerate violence on their campuses and in their communities.  


Circle of 6 developers are Deb Levine, Nancy Schwartzman, Thomas Cabus, and Christine Corbett Moran.  The Facebook pledge is at


The third prize of $5,000 went to the creators of R3, an app that helps health care providers recognize and respond to victims of domestic abuse and refer them to help.  Only 10 percent of physicians regularly screen for domestic violence, in part because they lack an evidence-based screening tool and knowledge of what to do if they identify someone in need.  The R3 app gives providers a set of four questions that have been shown to effectively identify victims of abuse.  An automatic scoring function links to recommendations on what to do based on a patient's score, and a resource locator identifies local providers of domestic abuse services using the device's geolocation feature.  The app also links to additional references and information, including videos and referral protocols.  


R3 team members are Carol Wick, Carlos Carbonell, Min Sun Kim, and Taylor Robertson.  A demonstration is available on YouTube at  


HealtheSAVE, a team whose goal is to help health care providers better recognize patients who have experienced violence, ask them about that experience, and refer them to appropriate services, took fourth place and a prize of $2,500.  The group is developing a website that will be tied to social media platforms and a mobile app.  These tools will educate providers about how to incorporate violence prevention into patient care and put references and resources at their fingertips.  HealtheSAVE also will provide handouts and tools to educate patients about abuse, their rights, and resources for aid, and it will fund continuing education and training for providers.  HealtheSAVE's developers are also designing their products to be useful to international users as well, providing links to global resources and designing their tools to work across a broad range of platforms and providers.


HealtheSAVE is being created by Elliott Schulman, Anna Hohler, Kathy Franchek-Roa, James Manousos, David Corwin, and Amy Wallace.


"Ending Violence @ Home App Challenge" grew out of a workshop ( convened by IOM's Forum on Global Violence Prevention at which participants discussed how traditional and new media can be harnessed to prevent domestic abuse.  The forum works to reduce violence worldwide by promoting research on protective measures and risk factors and encouraging evidence-based prevention efforts as well as dialogue and exchange among experts from all areas of violence prevention.  The Avon Foundation for Women, which awards grants to build awareness, educate, and improve prevention and direct-service programs to end domestic and gender violence, provided generous support for the challenge.


"The Institute of Medicine and the Avon Foundation for Women issued this challenge in recognition of the great potential of technologies such as social media and mobile apps to reduce the worldwide suffering caused by domestic violence," said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg.  "We are impressed with the level of creativity demonstrated by the winning products, which can make a real difference to abused individuals."


"A core principle of the Avon Foundation for Women's Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program is to encourage powerful communications and technology innovations that empower individuals to take action and change the attitudes and behaviors that help perpetuate violence against women," said Avon Foundation for Women President Carol Kurzig.  "We commend the winners for creating these innovative digital tools to help keep women and children safe."


Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public.  The Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Research Council together make up the private, nonprofit National Academies.  For more information, visit or  


Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women, the world's largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education, and prevention programs, as well as direct services for victims and their families.  Through the end of 2012, Avon global philanthropy has donated nearly $50 million to support awareness, education, direct service and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence.  Globally, Avon supports efforts to end violence against women in nearly 50 countries by raising funds through special product sales and raising awareness through events and with educational information disseminated by more than 6 million global Avon Representatives.



Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer

Office of News and Public Information

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