We’re proud to have created an app for survivors of sexual violence for local charity, Survivor’s Network. It walks through some techniques that help those who’ve had a traumatic experience find calm and regain some control in moments of need. Read on to find out more about the charity, what the app does, and what the charity Director thinks of it.
What is Survivor’s Network?
Survivors’ Network is the Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex. It offers help, support, advice and counseling to survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
Established in 1990 by a group of female survivors of childhood sexual abuse to provide services that would support other female survivors of childhood sexual abuse, they’ve grown into an organization that now offers a range of professional relevant services to survivors of any gender and all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence.
They offer a safe drop-in session twice a week, run a helpline and offer one-to-one counseling with a team of trained volunteers.
They are contacted by over 1500 people every year and that number is growing.
How did the app come about?
When it was Elucidat Project Manager, Jane Moore’s, turn to volunteer a charity for our annual pro-bono project, she didn’t hasten to suggest Survivor’s Network. As a volunteer counselor with the charity, it’s unsurprisingly close to her heart. Jane became our subject matter expert and customer overnight, as well as being invaluable on the design team!
We all wanted to produce something unarguably useful, that enables survivors to take steps for themselves and help them feel more in control. We landed on Grounding Techniques, one of the techniques suggested by SN counselors already, and put the idea to the charity managers, who agreed.
Why Grounding Techniques?
Grounding techniques are designed to help someone who’s had a traumatic experience regulate their emotions when they feel extreme or out of control. With traumatic experiences the body can get stuck in either the fight, flight or freeze reactions. The signal that danger is over doesn’t always happen, and people can experience hyper (red alert) or hypo (shut down) sensations.
The app is a tool kit that walks users through a choice of four different grounding techniques, in a very simple way, with the view that they can explore, practice and find one, two or more that work for them. Moving forward, these techniques can then become part of an individual’s personal ‘toolkit’ that they can bring out and use in moments of need. We don’t expect people to bring out their phones for a reminder of the technique each time, although some may and others may choose to carry a print out version with them. Primarily, the idea is to empower survivors to learn how to use the techniques for themselves when they need them.
We interviewed Jay Breslaw, Director of Survivor’s Network, about the app.
Why is the Grounding Techniques app so important?
“We know Survivor’s Network provides high-quality services and where survivors are accessing these they can receive diverse support. But this online app represents an opportunity for survivors to access high-quality support outside of that.
It’s particularly pertinent with highly traumatic experiences. We know day-to-day living for survivors can be difficult and paralyzing, so to offer resources that people can access from home and in their own time, to help them ground themselves and reconnect with life, is really really exciting for us.”
Why was going digital important?
“As we are a small organization we can be flexible with how we provide support but we are always restricted by the resources we have such as staff numbers so anything that can add to that is an amazing opportunity for us. Over 1,500 survivors accessed our services last year. This piece is widening our reach, which is always important
“It also helps us ensure we are future proof, coming along with the rest of the world in technology and making sure we offer support for those who may not be able to access our services in a traditional way. It aligns with the digital transformation being undertaken by Rape Crisis England & Wales, of which we are part of.”
How do you feel about the end result?
“I love the look – it’s very calming. I anticipate a lot of people will access it on a mobile and it works well on phones or tablets. People will have preferences around the techniques on offer – it gives a choice to users around their recovery journey and allows them to choose and experiment to find the right fit.
We are very appreciative of having businesses come forward to support charities and it’s important to all come together to collectively respond to sexual violence.”
The view of the Elucidat Team?
Elucidat’s Professional Services Team enjoyed working incredibly collaboratively on this project, following our own 5Cs process (of course!). We each brought inspirations from other self-help sites and apps to the table, each created visual moodboards, and each created wireframe designs to share and discuss.
“Motivated by such a good cause and keen to make the app ultra clear, easy to use and strike the right tone, we experimented with all of us working on the initial design phases, including Jane our PM turned SME and only broke out into more defined roles to create the copy and visual assets. But we all reviewed it at every stage, going back to our user profiles each time.
“We loved working on it and are proud of the results and what it can give those who need it”
Georgie, Debbie, Kirstie & Jane
Someone can come to Survivor’s Network at any time for support. You can find email, phone, resources and other details to help you on the website.
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