Table 1

Definition of anti-VAW app categories for qualitative content analysis

App categoryDefinition
’Emergency app’This function is defined by the following eight characteristics:
  • Targets emergency situations only.

  • Temporal immediacy of alert: mostly directly before, during or after an incident.

  • Easy handling (one alarm button/shake/scream).

  • Sends an emergency alert to selected contacts, community workers and/or to police officials.

  • Alert may include GPS details and/or voice recording/video recording.

  • No background-information concerning the incident is transferred.

  • No information on VAW in general is given.

  • No information about resources in cases of VAW is given.

’Avoidance app’This function is defined by the following four characteristics:
  • No direct temporal link between usage of app and incident.

  • Usage of function before (potential) incidents.

  • Avoidance strategy.

  • It also targets forms of VAW that do not specifically represent a harm to a person’s physical integrity (ie, catcalling).

’Education app’This function is defined by the following five characteristics:
  • No direct temporal link between usage of app and incident.

  • Usage of function before (potential) incidents.

  • Education strategy.

  • Targets health workers as well.

  • It also targets forms of VAW that do not specifically represent a harm to a person’s physical integrity (ie, catcalling).

‘Reporting and evidence building app’This function is defined by the following seven characteristics:
  • No temporal immediacy of report needed: reporting and sharing of the incident is possible even if it has already (long) passed.

  • During or after an incident, not before.

  • VAW entails also non-physical and non-sexual forms of VAW (eg, catcalling), that is, without the potential to harm one’s physical integrity.

  • Entails interaction with other users/victims.

  • Includes GPS information that is used to map incidents and is visible to all users.

  • Specific information about the incident, the perpetrator, the victim and the context is given.

  • Promotes public awareness and exchange of experiences with sexual harassment and other forms of VAW.

’Supporting app’This function is defined by the following five characteristics:
  • Usage of app only after an (or consecutive) incident(s) of VAW.

  • Connects users with organisations.

  • Informs about and connects with professional resources (ie, legal, psychological and medical).

  • Predominantly targets forms of VAW that harm the victim’s physical integrity.

  • Often aiming at intimate partner violence.

  • Apps were assigned to one of the stated categories if ≥50% of respective characteristics applied. The term ’avoidance strategy’ comprises apps offering means to avoid at-risk-situations, for example, apps for all-female taxi services at night to avoid walking alone in the dark; the term ‘education strategy’ encompasses apps that inform users about VAW, its unacceptability, the availability of services as well as about egalitarian relationships between women and men as part of VAW prevention strategies.

  • VAW, violence against women.