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HomeLocal NewsKingston Victim Services to take part in pilot program of app

Kingston Victim Services to take part in pilot program of app

Kingston will be one of nine municipalities whose Victim Services providers will take part in a pilot program alongside the tech company Genvis.

The Australian, female founded company creates software that is aimed at improving public safety in communities, and after supporting people impacted by Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) since 2017, the company’s new partnership with community organizations in Canada and Australia will attempt to change and improve the support victims receive.

The pilot program will provide people facing intimate partner and gender-based violence (IPV and GBV) with a personal safety app called Milli, while the service providers themselves will be given access to Genvis’ case management software Kudo.

Milli began in response to a rash of homicides in Australia where the perpetrators were hiding inside the victims homes, so Genvis’ CEO Kirstin Butcher created an app that relies on closed circuit television so women can know what’s going on inside their home and make informed decisions based on that.

While working to support Australia’s COVID response Genvis was pulled away from that project for a while, but became aware of how impacted IPV and GBV victims were by the pandemic as suddenly the limited supports they had were no longer available to them.

Feedback Genvis received from victims and service providers led to the integration of Milli with Kudo in order to help streamline communication between victims and case workers without putting the victims at risk.

In a release from Genvis, the company shares that a woman or girl in Canada dies every 48 hours due to IPV or GBV, and spousal violence alone costs the country $7.4-billion per year.

Experts say there’s an urgent need for improved data sharing, reporting, and collaboration, and Genvis hopes the integration of their two products can help address that.

Genvis’ Country Manager for Canada, Brenda Dhillon, says the two products help give victims more flexibility to find support.

“Users of Milli can securely interact with users of KUDO and so this could be victim services, it could be a shelter, it could be a sexual assault center, but it can also be government and law enforcement,” Dhillon said.

“This added feature set allows them to collect evidence of harm, it allows them to share that information with support service providers, they can record incidents of harm, they can develop safety plans through the application as well and share that again with users of KUDO…it can all be done through these applications which provides a lot more flexibility for those who are experiencing this type of harm.”

Milli’s primary purpose is to ensure that all victims have access to the supports they need regardless of where they are, which could really help those in remote or rural locations.

Kudo, on the other hand, is focused on streamlining service provider operations and improving data sharing ability, essentially improving the day to day operations of these organizations and enhancing their inter-connectivity.

A simple change like victims being able to share information and documents in a safe manner without actually having to come into a service provider’s office is something that has been needed and is overdue.

Dhillon says more efficient sharing of information between victims and service providers can literally be the difference between life and death.

“Many times the recommendation has come out that said that if only this information was shared, it would have likely prevented this tragic circumstance,” Dhillon said.

Victim Services of Kingston and Frontenac will be one of the nine municipalities in Ontario set to implement Genvis’ programs, it is one of 52 provincially funded Victim Services programs throughout the province.

Paula Laughlin, Executive Director of Victim Services in the region, said when approached by Genvis with the proposal, it was immediately interesting.

She says it was clear that the two programs could help address the gaps that service providers were seeing when it comes to storing and sharing information, with Milli’s cloud based services keeping things more secure.

“We do encounter a lot of victims who have those items destroyed or are lost… so being able to take pictures of those items and store them alone is of huge value,” Laughlin said.

“When we heard the integration with the database as well… we knew immediately we had to jump on board with this.”

Laughlin says the application seems to be user friendly, and says Genvis has been accommodating and supportive during the process.

The pilot kicks off this month, and Genvis will hold a launch event at Queen’s University on May 2nd.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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