THE Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce NSW (AICC) is spearheading an innovative initiative – using technology to help prevent domestic and family violence.
In partnership with Microsoft and Mission Australia, as well as a broad government coalition, the Social Innovation Accelerator has been created, with the next phase edging closer to fruition.
The inspiration behind it came from the Israeli-based Michal Sela Forum (MSF), whose aim is to save lives and prevent domestic violence through innovation and technological solutions.
The MSF was founded by Lili Ben-Ami after her sister, Michal Sela, was tragically murdered in Israel by her husband.
Ben-Ami, who serves as CEO of MSF, said their program has used “out-of-the-box thinking” to identify digital warning signs for violence in relationships, with the goal to save the next murder victim through the use of advanced technology in times of crisis, as well as in prevention and raising awareness to warning signals.
The technology brings together a broad section of collaborators, including engineers and entrepreneurs from Israel’s high performing tech sector, with intelligence and counter-terrorism experts, plus social welfare agencies and domestic violence survivors.
Through multiple ‘hackathons’ their accelerator has already created a number of start-ups using digital data to prevent domestic violence.
The MSF is planning to support the creation of 100 start-ups working to end domestic violence.
Presenting to an online and in-person workshop from 36 organisations last month, AICC CEO Michelle Blum said, “We want to create an eco-system that will amplify what already exists here to help prevent domestic violence.”
The numbers around domestic violence incidents in NSW are concerning, said Brett Lightfoot of Microsoft Australia, at the workshop.
“Domestic family violence is a wicked problem facing our society,” he said, adding that 32,000 assaults occur annually in NSW.
These numbers place an enormous strain on the systems in place, including 50 per cent of all policing time.
Lightfoot said a “proactive, rather than a reactive process” is desperately needed to ensure opportunities to save lives aren’t missed.
There were more than 219 challenges identified at the recent workshop – the third in the series that began last year about the best ways to reduce domestic family violence.
The 24 main challenges the group opted to focus on included providing clear digital pathways to empower survivors to find the right services, allowing survivors to choose which personal information they want to securely share with selected providers and survivor-
initiated data sharing that provides better service and coordinated cross-sector response. That reduces the need for survivors to have to ‘retell’ their often traumatic story.