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Calgary developers offer SafeSpace to report sexual assault

The app is intended to ease the process of submitting a report to the authorities

CAL 14 Steve Hardy (Left) and the team behind the SafeSpace app. Uploaded by: Chatha, Aaron

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CAL 14 Steve Hardy (Left) and the team behind the SafeSpace app. Uploaded by: Chatha, Aaron

In hopes of encouraging more victims to report sexual assault, Calgary startup Rally Engine has created a platform aimed at making the process feel a little easier – and a little safer.

SafeSpace is a platform that walks a victim through the reporting process step-by-step, allowing victims to provide as much or as little information as they feel comfortable, while organizing it in the cleanest format for officials to better work with during an investigation.

SafeSpace isn’t an app available on its own, but part of a package that individual organizations, like businesses or post-secondary institutions, can sign up for and make available to their students or employees. Information will securely go through the platform to the appropriate parties, like police or campus security.

Where SafeSpace really goes the extra mile is in identifying similarities between multiple reports – like a common offender. There’s even a ‘report with others’ option for filing multiple reports.

“It will let them know that they’re not alone in coming forward, which – as we’re seeing in Hollywood and so on – that’s a really big factor to coming forward,” explained Steve Hardy, president of Rally Engine.

According to Calgary police, reporting of sexual offences jumped 20 per cent in 2016, with 539 sex offences reported.

Although reporting numbers have risen, Hardy feels much more can be done to help victims feel safer. SafeSpace takes a survivor-centric approach by telling the victim ‘I believe you’ and goes one question at a time to describe the incident, when happened, who was involved and so on.

When they started pitching the idea a year ago, they thought mostly campuses would be involved.

“What has been a pleasant surprise is how interested different levels of government, unions and work places have been,” Hardy said. “The problem is now very much in the zeitgeist and there are a lot of organizations looking at different solutions.”

For more information about SafeSpace, visit https://www.rallyengine.com.

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