A Jersey-based entrepreneur has launched a free app to empower victims of abuse and sexual assault by helping them record evidence and report incidents to the police.
Injury Capture allows victims, as well as their family and friends, to gather legally admissible forensic imagery and other associated evidence to support police investigations and prosecutions.
It was created by Simon Franc, whose experience as founder and CEO of Forensic Equity, one of the UK’s leading forensic science service providers, led him to discover the low rates of conviction in domestic abuse against both women and men.
According to a crime survey carried out in England and Wales, 77% of reported incidents couldn’t proceed to prosecution due to “evidential difficulties”.
Pictured: Simon Franc, founder and CEO of Forensic Equity.
“We all know that the best course of action is to call 999 immediately and report an attack,” Mr Franc said.
“However, for a variety of reasons, many victims delay seeking help, and this makes prosecuting and proving a crime much harder. I wanted to make it easy to capture evidence in order to enable justice for the victim, while also making the criminal justice system more efficient. It empowers the most vulnerable in our society, and those who care about them.”
The app was developed in consultation with police forces, victims’ support organisations, and criminal justice expert. It is free to use and is also available in a web-based version.
It is fully compliant with data protection and privacy regulations, as well as being certified to ensure the evidence gathered on the app is legally admissible in a court of law.
Using the app, victims, as well as their families and friends, can take photos of injuries that are ‘scaled’ in line with the legal requirements to qualify as forensic evidence, and upload “supplementary evidence” such as files, videos, notes, messages among other content.
Pictured: The data will be securely stored according to legal requirements.
The data will be securely stored according to legal requirements, preserving vital metadata which validates the evidence with details such as location and time.
It will be possible to share the evidence with the police within minutes, allowing them to act swiftly, but if the victim isn’t able to report the attack instantly, the evidence will still be available to submit, supporting the investigation and hopefully a successful prosecution, weeks, months, or even years later.
Mr Franc said the need for the app rose during the pandemic as the number of incidents of domestic violence increased globally, which the United Nations described as the “shadow pandemic”.
Last year, Jersey Women’s Refuge saw a 50% increase in calls to its helpline as well as a 26% increase in admissions to its safe house, forcing Marine Oliveira, the Refuge’s Manager, to temporarily open a second safe house with the help of the Government.
In total, the charity, which is the only independent domestic abuse charity in the island offering 24/7 support, outreach services, helpline and group work, supported 419 families, including 49 children.
Mr Franc said he hoped the app would lead to an increase in early guilty pleas in the same way police body worn cameras have done, preventing victims from having to go through a trial process and saving Court’s time and resources.
Evidence submitted to Parliament by Police Scotland found that over 90% of all crime cases involving body cams resulted in early guilty pleas.
“My hope is that with better quality evidence which can be retained, we will get more successful convictions, and those who might contemplate violent crimes will think again. Meanwhile, their victims will have the confidence to report the crimes knowing they have the best opportunity for justice.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.