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Crowd-sourced Public Safe Havens

Currently, particularly during commuting hours, many urban neighborhoods worldwide are unsafe for women and girls to move through as they lack safe spaces and support networks within these neighborhoods. By creating a platform (both in digital and analogue realms) for posting and reviewing safe spaces and routes within any given community, we seek to enable a network of safe refuge sites, or Safe Havens, and positively reinforce equitable treatment for all people.

Photo of Ivy Young
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Women who use or interact with Safe Havens can rate them in real time. There will be 3 methods for data collection:
 
a) a downloadable App that people with smart-phones and regular internet access can use
 
b) a text message based service for those with feature phones
 
c) a paper based analog service for those with no access to mobile technology
 
Safe Havens will each have a location code and instructions for providing feedback. Women who use the Haven can provide feedback in the method most appropriate for them given their access to technology. Because not all women and girls have access to cell phones, and when they do it cannot be guaranteed that cell phones are fully charged all of the time, each Safe Haven host site will be responsible for printing updated maps of the Safe Haven network regularly and updating the database with feedback. Additionally, maps that document all Safe Haven sites will be available digitally as well as printed regularly & placed in obvious accessible locations within the host site.

On the back-end, there will be a centralized database that compiles the digital data in real time, and the analog data at certain pre-defined periodic intervals (perhaps weekly). 

Once a Safe Haven site has been vetted by a certain number of Safe Haven community members the site will receive an official sticker with the Safe Haven logo to prominently mark the space for passersby.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

By creating a platform (both in digital and analogue realms) for posting and reviewing safe spaces and routes within any given community, we seek to enable a network of safe refuge sites, or Safe Havens, and positively reinforce equitable treatment for all people.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

Currently, particularly during commuting hours, many urban neighborhoods worldwide are unsafe for women and girls to move through as they lack safe spaces and support networks within these neighborhoods. We are interested in creating safe and welcoming spaces within cities so that women's commutes are not prohibited. Active maps will mark each Safe Haven site. While site hosts will be able to offer and self-select their properties as safe refuges for those in need, hosts will additionally be vetted and reviewed by the women and girls who turn to them in need. This mechanism for women to promote (or denounce) each Safe Haven site creates an active and necessary role for women in shaping and deepening the Safe Haven network.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

Anyone who is in need of a safe place, for any reason, will benefit from this idea. Though our primary focus is to serve women and girls, we recognize that this model could easily serve any one in danger. Safe Haven's can be homes, businesses, restaurants, community spaces, etc.. The social and economic implications of this model are exponential. The safer a space – let's say a business – is rated, the more women will feel comfortable using that space for their shopping needs. The greater a business's success, brought by an increase in customers, demonstrates women's buying power and new voices with which to push for expanded cultural changes. Because the Safe Haven community and platform is one that is based on crowd sourced vetting, much in the same way Airbnb or Yelp operate, the Safe Haven network will be able to monitor its own success as it grows.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

An organization on the ground with experience in web application design and community outreach. (Yet unknown/unidentified.)

Where should this idea be implemented?

Any urban neighborhood where women and children feel threatened or fearful.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

Our assumptions: 1) That businesses, organizations, and private homes will want to offer their sites as Safe Havens. 2) That the Safe Haven sites will be used. 3)That women will feel empowered and comfortable reviewing Safe Haven sites. 4) That benevolent sites will come forward to offer their spaces & help. 5) That malevolent sites will not come forward - or if they do, that they will easily be identified and flagged within the network. 6) That someone or some organization will respond or help create and/or monitor the system/platform. [In our conversations, our team felt that building an exact replica of this idea would be difficult to prototype in our location (San Francisco), simply because the needs we experience personally are different from those described in this challenge. A teammate (Siri) shared about a similar application used in the San Francisco Bay Area: the Refuge Restroom which maps out safe places for trans or gender queer individuals to use restrooms. This platform allows individuals to submit new locations, though doesn't have a review feature, as we've proposed.]

What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?

Where: Any business, organization, or residential space located on street level that is identifiable as a Safe Haven site - a safe place to duck into for help or when feeling threatened outside, on the street. When: Throughout the day, whenever women and girls need to get from one place to another – most likely more frequented during commute hours. How: If a woman or a girl feels unsafe (due to a feeling, a verbal exchange, an interaction, etc.), she may turn to a Safe Haven nearby. She will identify it either because she has located it on a map (digital or analogue) or because she recognizes the Safe Haven by its clear marking. Once there, she can relax, seek help from others, and remedy the situation.

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Photo of ElsaMarie Dsilva
Team

Great idea Ivy. Safecity is planning such an app and it is WIP. I just came across your idea and would love to connect. elsa@safecity.in