Home Ministry-backed women’s safety app fails to address pressing issues: reports


Path Community, the mobile app supported by the UK Home Office to tackle violence against women, does not address the underlying problem of men raping women, said campaigners for women’s safety. Instead, the app violates privacy and “insults women and girls”, The Guardian reported citing activists. The app was set up with the aim of ensuring the safety of women after the gruesome murder of Sarah Everard in March.

Reclaim These Streets activist Anna Birley pointed out that the app does not solve the fundamental problem.

“We already share our location, we already ask our friends to text us when they get back, we already wear light-colored clothes, stay on well-lit roads and hold our keys between our fingers. It is still not enough. Women and girls, and the steps we take to stay safe every day, are not the problem. The problem is, male violence makes us dangerous, ”Anna Birley told The Guardian.

She added that the Interior Ministry supports the application even if it “insults women and girls”.

Victims of domestic violence have also raised concerns about the app allowing abusers to access out of reach of the home. “They potentially extend the reach of abusers, controlling women in spaces where they previously felt safe and free,” said Farah Nazeer, chief of Women’s Aid. The Guardian. Stressing that crime commissioners and the Home Office need to work closely with the women’s sector to remove barriers to women’s safety, Nazeer added that there was a lot of work to be done to encourage the public to report crimes against women, combat misogyny and increase awareness and education.

Male violence against women “central problem”, app developer says

Addressing the post, app creator Harry Mead informed that Path Community is sharing anonymous information with local councils and police to highlight the issue in the areas to pave the way for the provision of resources to these locations. “The app is designed to address immediate concerns and help users feel more secure. Path is our attempt to do our part,” he explained. Speaking about the issue of men’s violence against women, he said, “the underlying problem is the central problem and everyone must help to tackle it.”

In addition, UK Home Secretary Rachel MacLean also backed the request, saying such programs must be part of a larger plan. She also added that she personally welcomes such initiatives from the private sector. Finally, MacLean called for a “whole of society” approach to addressing men’s violence against women and girls.

Path Community mobile app

It’s relevant to mention that the Path Community app monitors anyone returning home at night on a specific route. If the person monitored by the application moves more than 40 meters from the stipulated path or stops for more than 3 minutes, the application launches a message asking if the user is “OK”. In the absence of a response, the non-profit mobile application automatically alerts the designated “tutors” previously introduced into the server. The list may include family members or friends, who receive a notification informing them of the deviation. It is then up to them to monitor the individual or alert the police. It also suggests a route avoiding unlit streets, alleys or areas known for their “anti-social behavior”.

(Image: Shutterstock / AP)

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