PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay is working with a local women’s shelter to promote the national debut of a mobile app designed to help victims of domestic violence.
The “RUSafe” app has been available in Pittsburgh for several months and will be made available nationally on iPhones and Androids beginning Nov. 1.
The free app, designed by the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, gives users a brief questionnaire and uses GPS technology to help the user locate the nearest domestic violence hotline or 911.
“Research shows that connecting to a domestic violence program is the significant factor in reducing injuries, physical assaults and homicides,” said Shirl Regan, the shelter’s president and CEO.
“If you’re scared to talk to someone in your family you can download the app, answer a couple of questions and it will go straight to a hotline and you will be connected to a safety,” said Gay.
The app has already been used 1,000 times and helped more than 20 victims in Pittsburgh get the help they need.
“It helps identify victims earlier, it helps them understand the danger they may be in,” said Regan.
Gay has become a leading advocate for domestic violence victims in recent years. His mother, Carolyn Hall, was killed by her husband when Gay was a child.
“She didn’t have a chance or someone to help her or a hotline to call,” Gay said.
Gay praised the NFL for taking a harsher stance on domestic violence following Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension for hitting Janay Palmer during an incident at an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino in February.
“I’m just glad we’re talking about it from the top of the league to the bottom,” he said. “Our goal is always to try to broaden or get the awareness out everywhere.”
Gay filmed a series of public service announcements in conjunction with the launch and is hopeful his experience will help others escape abusive relationships.
“Me talking about it, it helped me grow as a man,” he said. “That’s just my mom living on. Anything to keep her voice alive, I’m going to do.”
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