A JERSEY-BASED entrepreneur says a free app he has launched will help domestic-abuse victims to gather solid and admissible evidence to support investigations and prosecutions against offenders.
Injury Capture, the brainchild of forensics science expert Simon Franc, allows forensic photographs and other evidence of violent or sexual assaults, such as sound recordings or text messages, to be collected and stored in a secure online cloud within seconds.
Mr Franc said that other advantages of the app were that it time- and date-stamped evidence and had a scaling function so the sizes of bruises and other injuries could be measured. He added that both of these functions produced evidence that was more likely to stand up in court under scrutiny.
A spokeswoman for the police said that the force was monitoring the project.
Mr Franc, who founded and worked as chief executive for a UK forensic science firm, said that about 50 Islanders had already downloaded the app, which is being pioneered in Jersey.
He said: ‘We all know that the best course of action is to call 999 immediately and report an attack. However, for a variety of reasons, many victims delay seeking help and this makes prosecuting and proving a crime much harder.
‘I wanted to make it easy to capture evidence in order to enable justice for the victim, while also making the criminal-justice system more efficient. It empowers the most vulnerable in our society, and those who care about them.
‘My hope is that, with better quality evidence which can be retained, we will get more successful convictions, and those who might contemplate violent crimes will think again. Meanwhile, their victims will have the confidence to report the crimes, knowing they have the best opportunity for justice.’
A statement released by Injury Capture says that around 77% of domestic-violence incidents do not proceed to prosecution due to ‘evidential difficulties’.
It says: ‘If victims don’t report a crime immediately, whether because of trauma or other reasons, it is difficult for police to find the evidence to take a case to prosecution.
‘Added to this, fewer than one in six victims reported a sexual assault to the police in the first place, stating embarrassment, humiliation and/or that they didn’t think the police could help.’
A police spokeswoman said: ‘The States of Jersey Police have been in talks with the team at Injury Capture for a number of months. We are supportive of the pilot and are interested to see where it goes and how it can help Islanders.’
The app, which is free to use and backed by Digital Jersey, was developed in consultation with police forces, victims’ support organisations and criminal-justice experts.
It is designed to be fully compliant with data protection and privacy regulations and is certified to ensure that the evidence gathered is legally admissible in a court of law.
Friends, relatives and professionals can also use Injury Capture to record evidence.
Before Covid, evidence showed that one in three women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
The app can be downloaded from Google and Apple app stores, or by visiting injurycapture.com.
By Ian Heath

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