A Viber Bot has Been Developed for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in Bulgaria
Future Perfect Foundation has developed a Viber chat bot for the prevention of domestic violence in Bulgaria, named “Strong”. The project is funded by the program “Social Innovations” of Sofia Municipality and is available to all over 3.5 million Viber users in the country.
The foundation was established in 2020 by Milena Edwig and Andrian Georgiev, who have many years of experience in the communications industry. Their team develops digital tools for the purposes of cultural institutions and non-governmental organizations for the protection of human rights.
“Strong” offers safety advice, quick access to 24-hour telephone lines and contacts at all centers in Bulgaria, where people who have suffered from domestic violence can seek help and protection.
You can find access to the chatbot here, as well as by searching for “Strong” in the Viber application for Android, iOS and desktop computers.
Using the bot, all Viber users can find out about their rights in case they become the object of violence. Information is provided about the specific steps for submitting an application for protection and where they can seek emergency medical care on the territory of Sofia Municipality.
Educational materials on the cycle of domestic violence, what forms of violence exist, what responsibility the perpetrator has and what actions the police would take after a report of domestic violence can also be found through “Strong”.
Not all cases of domestic violence are reported to law enforcement or only in drastic situations with severe physical injuries and threats to the health and lives of victims.
The problem of domestic violence was particularly acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. The signals for crimes related to domestic violence in Sofia have doubled in 2021 compared to 2019, before the start of the pandemic, according to the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office. According to the same report, in the first half of 2021, five people were effectively convicted of an act of domestic violence and are already serving their sentences in prison. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hotlines have also reported a much higher load of domestic violence signals.
“Strong aims to help more people protect themselves from domestic violence and protect their lives, health and rights.