App Will Provide New Yorkers the Opportunity to Immediately Report Harassment and City to Identify Possible Trouble Spots That Welcome Crime, Such as Dark Streets and Areas in Need of Repair
(August 19, 2013) – Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback! was joined by Speaker Christine Quinn, her wife Kim Catullo, and Council Member Diana Reyna today to unveil a new, targeted system to report sexual harassment to New York City Councilmembers via iPhone and Droid app. Speaker Quinn also released a plan for assessing the safety of neighborhoods across the city, block by block, using community-led safety audits. By gathering information in a coordinated way, the city will be able to better direct resources and more effectively combat harassment.
Quinn stated, “People who violate women either by their actions or words won’t be able to hide any longer. We will know who they are, what they do, where they do it – and we will put it to an end. By coupling valuable information with targeted resources we will arm ourselves with the tools we need to put an end to street violence and harassment. Public spaces belong to all New Yorkers, and street harassment is not a price women and LGBT New Yorkers have to pay for walking around New York City’s neighborhoods.”
“This isn’t just an app, this is history. Whether you experienced harassment or you witnessed it and tried to help, your report will make New York City safer for everyone. After we pilot this here, we hope to scale it to cities globally,” said Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback!.
The app, launched today, will enable users to report valuable information on harassment in real time. The reporting builds on an existing app run by Hollaback!, a non-profit organization that works to end street harassment. The City Council allocated $20,000 last year towards creating an expanded version of Hollaback!’s app. The current app allows users to submit reports of street harassment, assault and violence but is limited to qualitative narratives; expanding the app to include quantitative data will provide new information for evaluation and will allow the city to direct resources where they are most needed.
Information to be collected on the app will include demographics, locational information and information on the specifics of an incident or attack, as well as what, if any, formal reporting process the person went through. With this new tool, New York City will be the first city to undertake an effort to gather the data needed to understand scope of street harassment and how to reduce incidents of harassment.
Quinn also committed to conducting neighborhood audits in order to identify the safety of individual communities and where improvements are needed. The city will work with local community leaders to form teams with a variety of backgrounds and expertise to survey neighborhoods and assess factors impacting safety and the likelihood of street harassment occurring. The surveys will result in increased community engagement and recommendations for concrete improvements specific to each neighborhood’s needs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-contact unwanted sexual experiences including street harassment are the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women. According to a joint study conducted by Hollaback! and the Worker Institute at Cornell University, 96 percent of respondents reported that they or colleague had been targeted by street harassment, with only five percent reporting the incident to security or a city authority.
Hollaback! is a non-profit organization that works to end street harassment and violence by providing training and developing innovative strategies. Since January 2011, Hollaback! has trained more than 200 young people to be leaders in their local communities in the effort to end street harassment.