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June 1 , 2010

Healthy dating? There's an app for that

YWCA Canada launches Safety Siren

As part of its ongoing work to end violence against women and offer violence prevention and intervention tools, YWCA Canada, the country’s oldest and largest women’s multi-service organization, announced the launch of the YWCA Safety Siren app.  The unique safety siren is activated with a press of a button or a quick shake and turns an iPhone or iTouch into a multi-functional safety device.  Part of YWCA’s Power of Being a Girl anti-violence initiative, the app is available for free in the App Store.

Available in both English and French, the YWCA Safety Siren, offers users Canadian health and safety information geared toward young women, including: short questions and answers about women’s sexual health with a focus on dating and social interaction; tips and facts on safety and wellbeing; links to YWCAs across Canada as well as emergency and crisis resource centres; and SOS urgent email and phone functionality to a friend or family member when the user is in an unsafe situation displaying the user’s location on a map.

"We are thrilled to be able expand our existing roster of free materials on girls safety with this kind of new media outreach,” says Paulette Senior, YWCA Canada Chief Executive Officer. “Access to information about sexual health, wellness and safety is absolutely essential and girls need it where they live, and they live on their phones."

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program, the Power of Being a Girl™ initiative is a signature violence prevention program for girls ages 12-17 and focuses on developing girls’ leadership.

“Your iPhone is one of the most personal things you own.  Having access to sexual health information where, when and how you need it is an important part of being able to keep yourself safe when you go out on a date,” says Corinne Rusch-Drutz, YWCA Canada Director of Communications & Membership Development.  “The YWCA Safety Siren goes where you go and answers some of the tough questions you might not be willing to ask your friends or family or look up on a shared computer.  It’s your own private gateway to a library of women’s resources, from sexual harassment to STIs.”

In addition to giving straightforward information on relevant sexual health and wellness issues, the app geo-locates the user with maps and directions to over 250 resource centres across Canada by topic or proximity including local YWCA’s, emergency hotlines, health clinics and  crisis centres.  It’s a one stop shop for healthy dating and it’s free. 

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