- EGADZ has relaunched an app that can help Saskatoon youth report sexual exploitation and other issues in a discreet manner.
- Another feature of the app is that it simulates a phone ring tone when pressed, which some people use when walking alone.
EGADZ has relaunched an app that can discreetly assist Saskatoon youth in reporting sexual exploitation and other issues.
Through street outreach, housing, education as well as employment support, and parenting programming, EGADZ provides programs and services to children, youth, as well as their families.
The I am Not 4 Sale app, which took about a year to develop, includes several other features, such as an online chat function that connects users with EGADZ counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Individuals of any age or gender are welcome to use the app.
Users can have immediate emergency assistance sent to their location discreetly and anonymously using the app.
Users can also use the app to locate EGADZ Street Outreach vans throughout the city.
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On Friday, Chad Jones, the founder as well as CEO of Push Interactions, gave a live demonstration of the app.
If a user is in an immediate emergency, the app instructs them to dial 911.
Users can now select ‘Help me now’ to share their location with staff via the new feature. A chat window will also appear, allowing users to communicate with the staff member about their situation.
Following that, staff will quickly assess the situation and provide assistance based on the specific circumstances.
The app will share a user’s location with the police if they cannot respond to the chat and require “immediate” and “intense” assistance.
When users first open the app, they agree to share their location, and then again when they use the ‘help me now’ feature.
Another feature of the app is that when pressed, it will simulate a phone ring tone, which some people utilize when walking alone.
The app was redeveloped with $50,000 in funding from the provincial government. The youth assisted the app’s design, including color selection.
Riversdale MLA, Saskatoon Marv Friesen, who spoke at the app’s launch press conference on Friday, said the tool would increase the safety and security of Saskatchewan’s youth.
“EDAGZ has always prioritized listening to the young people they serve and developing programs and services based on their ideas, experiences, and wisdom,” Friesen explained.
Supt. Patrick Nogier of the Saskatoon Police Department praised the efforts of those involved in the app’s development to keep the community safe.
“We recognize that there must be a connection between the community and our police department, and sometimes you need people who can connect with people on the street to ensure that we bridge that gap,” Nogier said.
This app, according to Nogier, pushes the police department in that direction.
“It gives us a platform to facilitate a good communication flow to hold those responsible accountable and bring them to justice,” Nogier explained.
Don Meikle, EGADZ’s executive director, said the organization’s Sexual Exploitation Intervention Committee had resumed monthly meetings.
“We’ve already identified over 6 kids under the age of 18 who are working on the street and need our help,” Meikle said.
Youth are being sexually exploited without anybody knowing it, according to Meilke, thanks to tools like social media.
“They’re like the hidden children,” he explained.
According to Meilke, the I Am Not 4 Sale app will assist EGADZ and other agencies in identifying those children and ensure that appropriate supports are in place for them.
Source: Global News