Harbor House of Central Florida
This is the first app to have information that will aid medical professionals in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics make appropriate assessments of domestic violence victims and refer them to resources that can help.
No other tool is geared toward both healthcare professionals as well as those at risk.
The creators of the app, Harbor House of Central Florida, Florida Hospital, and the mobile development company all understand that the main targets of this app, those in the healthcare industry and young adults are more apt to receive information, utilize it, and respond if it’s delivered on the venue they use the most – their mobile devices. Lastly, the database compiled to drive the resource data portion of the app was made possible by countless volunteer and staff hours as there is no comprehensive list (comprised of hotlines, resources and shelters) found currently in the U.S.
It is the first app to have information that will aid medical professionals in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics make appropriate assessments of domestic violence victims and refer them to resources that can help.
The app’s main function is to deliver speedy, consistent and effective screening of domestic violence victims. Dr. Kevin Sherin, Director of Orange County Health Department, developed a short tool to screen potential victims of abuse. The HITS tool (a four-item questionnaire that asked respondents how often their partner physically Hurt, Insulted, Threatened with harm, and Screamed at them) is currently utilized all over the world.
- As part of our Project Courage initiative, Harbor House engaged Dr. Kevin Sherin three years ago to serve on their advisory council and started recommending in all trainings to medical professionals that the HITS be the standard screening tool in Central Florida.
- In trainings, we found that 71% of physicians did not routinely screen for domestic abuse. Those that did screen did not have appropriate protocols or referral systems in place to help survivors identified.
- We determined that an app would encourage physicians to screen more frequently and reach more survivors.
- An evidenced based screen tool that correctly identifies 91% of individuals in abusive relationships
- A resource locator that identifies, by zip code, the local provider of domestic abuse services (using geolocation feature of mobile device).
- Further information in the form of videos, links and protocol for screening usage.|
Security and Safety
While the app was designed for medical settings, Harbor House recognizes that those in abusive relationships might utilize the tool. Because of this, and due to the inherent danger involved in abusive relationships, special precautions were put into place to ensure the safety of survivors. These include:
- Warning notices on the iTunes information page
- Video disclaimers that must be viewed prior to usage for both professionals and survivors.
- Multiple reinforcements to seek further assistance either locally or through the national hotline.
App software technology is agile and as more resources become available, it will simple to get more resources into the hands of physicians instantly via app updates. App is developed in both English and Spanish and the HITS assessment tool is validated in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. It is also effective in both females and males in either opposite sex or same sex relationships.