App created in NJ so domestic violence victims can fight back
A New Jersey resident who's a survivor of child abuse and domestic violence is the brains behind a new online tool that will hopefully put a dent in the number of domestic violence cases that are dismissed due to lack of evidence.
"Victims can't remember enough details to prove without a shadow of a doubt that this abuse has occurred. And we're changing that," said Sheri Kurdakul, CEO and founder of VictimsVoice.
The Princeton-based web application is a legally admissible documentation tool for victims of abuse, including domestic violence. Users can document each incident of abuse, emotional or physical, along with photographs, and set up a records recipient if and when the time comes to file charges or request a restraining order.
In order to meet the strictest legal standards for court admissibility, the app does not let users change what has already been recorded at a later date — only add to it.
Kurdakul said the app is not one that can be downloaded on a smartphone or tablet, in case the victim's device is constantly being monitored by the perpetrator.
As an online application, it can be accessed from any machine with access to the web. This also creates access for individuals who may not own a phone or tablet.
"This is my way of making a measurable difference, ensuring that the less-than-2% prosecution rate, which is unacceptable in my book, is increased, and that abusers are held accountable," said Kurdakul, who officially launched VictimsVoice in June.
The app is now live in 28 states. Usage requires a fee of $39.95 per year.
Because most victims cannot afford the fee, or the financial trail, VictimsVoice has "partners" that purchase activation cards and give them to individuals in need. In New Jersey, two law offices are public partners, meaning they will always have a license to give away. Other non-public partners purchase cards when their finances allow.
Kurdakul said VictimsVoice is built to handle any kind of discrimination, harassment or abuse.
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