Lancashire teens design ‘life changing’ app to help stop abuse

Teenagers from Lancashire have designed a “life changing” new app to help young people take control of their relationships.

Tuesday, 10th March 2015, 9:00 am
INNOVATIVE: The group from Lancashire who have worked on the new mobile phone app that helps young people take control of their relationships

After two years of working with other youngsters from across the world, members of Lancashire Youth Council have developed stiritapp and website http://stiritup.eu/.

Using quizzes and an interactive story, the app aims to help young people find out if they are in a controlling relationship or if they are in fact the controller. It also includes a help page where users can find details of organisations that could help.

It comes after studies showed more than four in 10 teenage schoolgirls reported experiencing sexual coercion, including rape. Many 13-17 year-olds had also suffered physical attacks, intimidation or emotional coercion.

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Emily Holt, 16, was one of the contributors. She said: “People might not know they are in a controlling relationship, this shows them what one is. Not many people know what it is, we didn’t at first, people think controlling relationships are different things.”

Kayley White, 17, from Wyre, said: “I think it will make a massive difference to a lot of young people. Many are in controlling relationships and are too scared to say something but maybe they will if they know there is somewhere to go for help.”

To make the information relevant, the youngsters helped to design questionnaires that were completed by 4,500 teenagers from across Europe, as well as England.

A team of researchers from the University of Central Lancashire and University of Bristol, led by NSPCC Senior Research Fellow, Dr Christine Barter, also contributed.

The group are also planning to go into schools to promote the app and are designing posters for schools, youth clubs and other places where young people can see the information.