Angus Council’s Glen Isla and Glen Clova Project who support women affected by domestic abuse are piloting an initiative, with the support of Police Scotland, to offer vulnerable people in Angus the opportunity to access Hollie Guard Extra, a personal safety service through their own mobile phone.
Hollie Guard Extra’s core function is helping to keep people safe through its 24/7 monitoring service on their mobile phone. If an alert is raised the 24/7 service can see the person’s location in real-time. Audio and video evidence is created by the alert, allowing a suitable response, for example the police, ambulance. This evidence also assists police pursuing criminal prosecutions.
Angus Council’s Convenor of Children and Learning Committee, Cllr Ron Sturrock said “Keeping vulnerable women and children safe is a top priority in Angus, which is why we’ve worked with Police Scotland and the Hollie Gazzard Trust to secure this service for women affected by domestic abuse who are being supported by our Glen Isla and Glen Clova Projects.
Cllr Colin Brown, Vice Convenor of the committee added: “We hope this makes a real difference to the security and safety of these women, helping put control back into their hands, while reassuring them of a round-the-clock response to any alert or incident.”
One of the women (supported by the Glen Isla Project) who has the Hollie Guard App on her phone said: “Having the app on my phone gives me an extra level of protection and confidence when I am walking on my own, especially at night, as I can start and end my journeys on the app and confirm I am safe when I get to my destination. It helps me to feel less anxious when I am out on my own. It also helps to know I have it within reaching distance if I get into any trouble with my ex-partner. I can raise a discreet alert or deter him by using the safety alert option and raise awareness to others that I am in trouble and may need help.”
During November and December, Angus Council is supporting “16 days of action”, an international campaign to raise awareness of the need to end violence against women and girls around the world. They will be holding learning events for staff, sharing information and support available through their social media channels, as well as highlighting their progress towards achieving White Ribbon Scotland status which is given to towns educating men about violence against women, involving them in helping bring violence to an end.
There’s also a free version of the app called Hollie Guard which is available for anyone to download onto any Android phone or iPhone, turning their phone into personal safety device that can be triggered if the user is ever in danger.
The app was created by the Hollie Gazzard Trust, which was formed following the murder of 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard in 2014 by her ex-partner. Hollie had experienced domestic abuse and stalking prior to being fatally stabbed at her place of work.