Hidalgo County Victims Unit offers new app to protect domestic violence victims
HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas - October marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The Hidalgo county District Attorney’s Office will be the first in the nation to showcase a new app that will provide more protection for victims of domestic violence.
Candice Lagrange and Juan Cano are the founders of the VIN app, also known as “Victims Initiated Notification.”
The partners helped develop the app to operate on mobile and web platforms.
“When we had the shelter at home, we have individuals who are staying together. That itself caused a spike in not only domestic violence arrests, but also in calls and services,” Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney, Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. said.
When a victim is in a crisis situation, they can use the VIN app to send an alert to local authorities and emergency contacts.
The app will livestream video of the victim’s surroundings and GPS location. Also, if the victim decides to run the app, it will display a safety map.
“The map gives locations of safe places she can go to rather it’s a supermarket or a coffee shop or even a police substation they can look at the map and run towards safety,” VIN App Founder, Juan Cano said.
The founders say their pasts inspired them to create the app. Lagrange was a former victim of childhood domestic violence and Cano a former investigator.
“Our goal is for this to serve as a deterrent eventually where people or the aggressor stay away,” Cano shared.
The Texas Council on Family Violence provided funding for the app and partnered Cano and Lagrange with the Hidalgo County Victims Unit.
The app is currently running as a pilot program until Dec. 31.
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