Artificial intelligence disguised as a phone app to provide support for victims of domestic violence

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Posted

December 15, 2018 08:39:12

Artificial intelligence disguised in a secret phone app will soon be rolled out to help victims of domestic violence log evidence and create complex court documents.

Key points:

  • A new phone app will provide a space for domestic violence victims to record information
  • Developers are calling on support services to help test the app
  • It is hoped the new technology will assist vulnerable people

Adelaide-based law firm Cartland Law first developed the Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Research Assistant — AILIRA — as a tool to help create legal documents including wills.

Developer Adrian Cartland has now finished the first phase of adapting the technology to provide legal services to domestic violence victims, including the ability to draft intervention orders.

He said the technology would analyse information and reconstruct it in the way a lawyer would draft an affidavit.

“There are a number of different apps or technologies that provide information to women, but in relation to something that generates this kind of legal documentation, as far as I’m aware this is unique worldwide,” Mr Cartland said.

“We can take open form stories like you might tell someone and then make sense of that.”

Mr Cartland said victims could also upload documents into safe storage through the app, which could then be used as an appendix to affidavits.

“They can log these incidents, create an affidavit, have that information there in a safe and secure form that they can generate from wherever they are,” he said.

“We can then generate a story of what’s happened so they don’t need to repeat their tragic painful story again and again to each different service that they interact with, the police, counsellor, housing, their lawyer.”

App provides ‘unique security solution’

The app has been designed to disguise itself from the prying eyes of controlling and abusive partners.

“We had to work from the assumption that the perpetrator will have access to everything that the victim does because they’re often controlling and manipulative,” Mr Cartland said.

“So we’ve had to design a system that can be secure in that environment and I think we have come up with something that uniquely does that.”

Family and domestic violence support services:

  • 1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732
  • Women’s Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
  • Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
  • Lifeline (24 hour crisis line): 131 114
  • Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

Mr Cartland said the technology would appear as a secret app that could then redirect users to a disguised app that wouldn’t be traceable.

“It’s a chat bot that appears as something innocuous, it looks like 50 other apps that are out there, that is non-confronting in its nature and hidden behind that app is the AILIRA domestic violence chat bot which you have further passwords to get through,” he said.

“It’s a unique hidden app, there is a specific way of putting a password in, every time that you open it up the link expires so no one can ever retrace what you’re doing and see what you’re doing, all of the material is hidden.

“There are a number of different security measures there and all of those together I think provide a unique security solution.”

Service will assist vulnerable women

Mr Cartland said ideally the information would then be provided to victim support services across the country.

“Which means a whole bunch of background work has already been done so it can reduce the burden on these public pro bono services so they can ultimately serve more women,” he said.

Now the app is ready, Mr Cartland wants to test it out on support services and other experts to ensure it’s up to scratch, as part of the “beta testing phase” of the development.

“Having built this now what we want is feedback from other people in the domestic violence support services to comment on ease of use, user experience, applicability,” he said.

“Whether there’s anything it misses, anything that could be potentially harmful, it’s really important that we clear this out with as many different eyes as possible.”

Victim Support Service SA chief executive Caroline Holmstrom said it was encouraging to see this kind of technology being adapted to assist vulnerable people.

“It’s actually quite astounding to be honest that it’s being used in this way and what I’d really like to see is how it can be used for people in minority groups in particular,” she said.

“So people who would normally find it quite daunting to try to explain themselves to find a way of using artificial intelligence to interpret that accurately would be an enormous step forward.”

Ms Holmstrom said the Victim Support Service already used disguised apps including one that could alert police to incidents such as breaches of intervention orders, but said new developments with other uses were always welcome.

“I’d be very interested to see how this particular app might complement what we are doing already,” she said.

“I think what needs to happen is that everyone is very clear about what space they’re playing in and that we’re able to direct people to whatever it is that they actually need within that range of services.”

After taking on feedback from experts in the field, Mr Cartland hopes to roll out the app early next year as a free service.

Topics:

robots-and-artificial-intelligence,

science-and-technology,

mobile-phones,

information-and-communication,

domestic-violence,

community-and-society,

adelaide-5000,

sa



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