Cellphone app aims to empower rape victims

A new cellphone application could help get more rape cases prosecuted in court.

Community organisation Rape Crisis and cellphone chat platform Mxit have developed a mobile application to empower victims of rape to report rape attacks. It&39;s hoped that with more information at their disposal, rape victims can ensure their attackers will be brought to book.

South Africa has among the highest incidences of rape in the world. About 144 cases are reported every day, but many don&39;t even reach the courts. Some survivors are victimised and become disillusioned with the criminal justice system. On average, a case takes two years to be finalised.

The new Mxit application aims to make it easier for rape survivors to report attacks.

It guides them through the criminal and court process and directs them to counselling.

"Your ordinary citizen is really unaware of the criminal justice procedures and how complex they are, and the role they are required to play in breaking the rapist to justice. So the Mxit app has a clear step-by-step process of the procedures you would be following. From reporting a crime to going through the forensic examination to appearing in court and so on," Kathleen Dey of Rape Crisis said.

The organisation says it wants all women who use Mxit to download the application and study the information. They hope those women will then be better prepared to act if ever they are attacked.

Rape Crisis is hoping to extend the application to provide online counselling to rape survivors.

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