New app could help victims of domestic abuse

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Every year, almost five million women are victims of domestic abuse.

But when they go to court for help, it often becomes a case of he said/she said.

Now, however, thanks to a group of St. Louis inventors, there is a new smart phone app that can prove exactly what they both said.

It is called 'Stop Harassing Me Now.'

One of the co-creators, Brian Rohlfing, was inspired to do something to help abuse victims after an incident 30 years ago in which a business contact left a message on his answering machine, but then accidentally failed to properly hang up the phone.

'He filled the whole tape of him beating his wife and her begging him to stop,' Rohlfing said. 'It was horrifying.'

The app allows the user, with one touch to the screen of a smartphone, to begin recording an abusive call, which is then saved to a remote server after the caller gets a warning that they are being recorded.

The app can also capture and store threatening text messages, social media postings, emails and photographs.

'All of this is being recorded in chronologic time-stamped ability, so when a lawyer a judge a counselor a therapist looks at it they are going to see how this has accelerated,' Rohlfing said.

Another co-founder, Derek Haake, is also an attorney who sees the legal benefits of the app.

'If she says he hit me at 3:30 on Monday, well, sure enough our cloud received an upload from this phone number at 3:31 on Monday showing a red mark. And that is the kind of thing that is powerful,' Haake said.

At A.L.I.V.E, where those impacted by domestic violence get help, counselors think the app could prove to be a powerful tool.

'What`s unique about it is that it goes to the cloud so if he steals her phone, damages her phone, the evidence isn`t gone, the evidence is still out there,' said Jennifer Gadsky, A.L.I.V.E.`s adult clinical coordinator.

The charge for the app is $2.98 a month for 15 minutes of recording time.

Right now it is only available for Android phones, but they expect to have an iPhone version available within a couple of months.