Availability: Apple and Android Market
Created by: When Georgia Smiled: The Robin McGraw Foundation
Last Reviewed: November 2018
Appearing as a news app, Aspire News contains summaries of top world, sports, and entertainment news. However, it also includes a Help Section with resources on domestic violence and allows users to discreetly send a message, voice note, or place a phone call to friends in an emergency. Trusted contacts who are added within the app can be alerted with or without the user's location information.
What We Like:
The discreet nature of the app can be helpful to survivors who want to use a personal safety app, but are concerned that the abuser may find the app on the phone.
The trusted contacts do not have to be individuals who are already in the phone's contact list, giving the user more flexibility over who they include.
Within the app, there is a quick escape button that the user can use to quickly change the screen to news if someone was to walk in.
Safety & Privacy Considerations & Tips:
Location & Accuracy:
As stated in our Choosing and Using Apps: Suggestions for Survivors section, survivors should test any safety app to ensure that it works the way they need it to before relying on it in an emergency.
When tested, emergency alerts were sent and received on both Android and iPhone devices.
In all tests, the location sent to the recipient was accurate. If the survivor is not going to remain at the location where the incident is happening they should communicate as much as possible with their Trusted Contact about where they are going if they need immediate assistance.
The app does need the phone's location services to be turned on in order to work. When not in use, survivors may want to turn location off to maximize their privacy.
Communication with Emergency Contacts:
In set-up, the app asks the user to submit their full name so the Trusted Contact will know who is requesting help. If you are not comfortable with entering your full name, chose a name that your Trusted Contact can easily identify as being you. If using an alias, user should notify their Trusted Contact that this would be the name displayed if they receive a Distress Message. Additionally, when the emergency alert is sent to contacts, it is from a number that is not connected to the user sending the alert. Because of this, it is important for survivors to discuss this app with their trusted contact so that the recipient knows what type of message they may receive in case of emergency. Survivors are allowed to add an unlimited amount of Trusted Contacts, each person added to this list will receive the same Distress Message, link with location (if location is enabled in app) as well as the customized voice note if that option is set up.
If a user did not choose to enter the name of the Trusted Contact when initially setting up, they can add it later. This option is available under the Help tab in the Get Help section. Users do not have the option to import their trusted contact from their contact list; they have to manually add the phone number along with the name of the person.
Survivors can call their Trusted Contacts directly from the app, but the call will show up on the phone as a regularly placed call. Survivors should note that this outgoing call will show up in their call log and if the abuser is monitoring their phone, they will know even if it is deleted afterward.
If sending a Distress Text to the Trusted Contact, survivors can either customize a message in advance or use the default message provided: “Hey, this is the time we talked about. Please help.” A button that tells you that you are sending a Distress Message in not displayed in the Trusted Contacts section. When testing the app, the recipient notified me via text that they received a message.
The app includes an option for users to pre-record a message that will be sent to Trusted Contacts in an emergency. Again, prior to use during an emergency, survivor should test all features to make sure the app works the way they need it to.
Many of the resources redirect users to the Dr. Phil website. Survivors should reach out to an advocate to receive support and assistance if it is safe for them to do so. There are many resources listed under the Help Section, but they vary from 24-hour hotlines to organizations that are only available during business hours and may not provide direct services. Survivors who need immediate assistance should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, or the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).