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How re-purposing our devices is helping save lives

Our goal is to get a safe phone into the hands of every victim of domestic violence who needs one.” - Ashton Wood, founder of DV Safe Phone

Sujan Guragain (left) and Nithin Krishna Cherippady, Engineers in Technology at ANZ

Like most people, I spend a lot of time on my mobile phone. It’s with me first thing when I check the news, throughout the day to keep in touch with family, friends and work commitments and then often the last thing I view each night as I prepare for the next morning.


But imagine a day without your phone. Or worse – think of what it would be like to not have a phone in an emergency.


Many victims of domestic violence find themselves in exactly this situation. Their phones are taken away, hidden or broken – exactly when they most need them.


Ashton Wood, founder of DV Safe Phone, has set himself the mission of ensuring domestic violence victims that lifeline. Wood started DV Safe Phone to collect, repurpose and give mobile phones to people impacted by domestic violence.


The phones provide a part of an individual’s safety plan, offering a way to call for help when if they find themselves in a dangerous situation. An estimated 3.6 million Australian adults – or roughly a fifth of the population – reported experiencing physical or sexual family and domestic violence since the age of 15, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey.


More specifically, an estimated 2.2 million people – or 11.8 per cent of Australian adults – have experienced violence at the hand of their partner. Brisbane-based DV Safe Phone distributes the phones through registered charities, safe houses and authorities across Australia.


“Our goal is to get a safe phone into the hands of every victim of domestic violence who needs one,” Wood said. “With over two million known victims of domestic violence, there is no doubt we have a goliath challenge on our hands.”


ANZ’s Employee Enablement function updates the cycle for corporate mobile phones every quarter, with eligible employees receiving an upgraded phone every three years. Employee Enablement and DV Safe Phone saw an opportunity to work with each other and help those in need.


The bank donated 200 devices to the organisation late last year and recently delivered another 200 phones for testing and distribution across Australia.


“We extend our gratitude to ANZ for the exceptional calibre of phones you have generously provided. They will serve as invaluable 'safe phones' for survivors of domestic violence, playing a crucial role in safeguarding lives,” Wood said.


“What makes this initiative even more remarkable is we do not request the phones to be returned by the survivors,” he said. “Once these brave survivors have found safety, their DV Safe Phone remain in their possession, becoming an integral part of their journey towards rebuilding their lives.”


Together, we are making progress in helping victims become survivors. To date, more than 5000 survivors have been supported  and provided with a DV Safe Phone.


To join the more than 600 businesses and organisations supporting the organisation, visit dvsafephone.org.


Sam Thomson, Tech Area Lead, Employee Enablement, ANZ



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