App links Md. nonprofit with donors to help domestic violence victims

WASHINGTON — It’s a direct line to help victims of domestic violence, the minute they need it.

The Safe Night app alerts potential donors that their monetary contribution can cover the cost of providing a domestic violence victim a safe place to stay.

Employed across the country, and now for the first time in the D.C. area, the app can affect real-time change.

Those interested in helping domestic violence victims can make all sorts of charitable donations, but Arleen Joell thinks the Safe Night app might be the most immediate she has come across.

“People often say, ‘What can I do to help in this situation?’ And downloading the app is kind of a passive act that people can do anonymously if they want,” Joell said. “It’s just helping a person get out of harm’s way immediately.”

Joell runs the Largo, Maryland-based nonprofit Community Advocates for Family and Youth, or CAFY, which connects victims of domestic violence with shelters and hotels when they need it. CAFY uses the Safe Night app to let willing donors know that a person needs their help.

“As the donor, you could say, ‘Okay, I could cover that cost right now,’ and you would pay for that person to stay,” Joell said.

It gives CAFY the ability to ensure that no one gets turned down when they find the means or opportunity to leave an abusive situation, and to extend the number of days a victim can stay in a safe place.

The app was originally developed to help victims of human trafficking, and now is also used nationwide for domestic violence victims.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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