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Can we talk about domestic violence to young people on Snapchat ? src: https://www.snapchat.com/global/social-lg.jpg

Can we get a chatbot on Snapchat to talk about domestic violence?

Our recent Innovation Lab suggests that snapchat can be used to engage young people and help them find support in time. We are working in a city region with a population over 1 million. Since 2011, there have been 17 domestic violence homicides. Can you help us turn this idea into reality?

After a year of working with older people on themes such as community safety and social isolation, my team and I have earned the trust of the city to address challenging issues. So on Monday, April 18, we ran an Innovation Lab with a focus on domestic violence. We had participants who work in policy and strategy, representing multi-agency partnerships. We also had frontline staff and victims of domestic violence.

This profile gave us a three dimensional overview of the issue. Three key points stood out during the day.

1. A technology-heavy solution isn’t the answer: Victims of domestic violence often have their access to technology like mobile phones severely restricted or monitored.

2. Any information we provide digitally must hide in plain sight: The first point of contact with information must be conducive to the work carried out by offline support groups. Peers should be able to access, install or use this solution easily.

3. Quality of information is much more important than quantity. We need to provide clear, consistent advice with actionable steps.

Now let me add two more factors to this discussion. Young people (16–24) are most likely to suffer from domestic abuse (see this). It can take the form of physical or psychological abuse. Many victims and external agencies might not recognise the latter. This age group is least likely to engage with statutory organisations.

So how do you reach out to this group?

We identified a number of approaches during the day. One of these will be developed further into a proof of concept and community pilot. Another idea really stood out. Unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity to take it forward. This is why I’m sharing it here.

Can we create a chatbot for Snapchat to talk to young people about domestic violence? This idea meets the criteria I have outline above. Time limited messages can allow us to hide information in plain sight. Secondly, the platform can engage young people in spaces they occupy with their peers. The purpose of the chatbot is to help someone acknowledge they may be a victim of abuse and take an actionable step.

Can you help us take this idea forward?

We know it is possible in principle. We’ve seen examples of chatbots running self-moderated chat servers with over a million users talking online, simultaneously. This is how we can help. The population of the city region we are working in is over 1 million. So we can connect you with sources of data as well as policy + frontline staff. We can also test and evaluate the chatbot with service users. This is very important as no two cases of domestic violence are alike.

Do get in touch!

If you’d like to have a chat, please contact me on Twitter here: Abhay Adhikari or drop me a line at contact (at) digitalidentities (dot) info.

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I am interested in the context & values of our Digital Identities.

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