Domestic violence is a pervasive and deadly pandemic that affects countless lives worldwide, with statistics revealing that 1 in 3 women, 3 out of 4 children, and an estimated 1 in 7 men have experienced abusive relationships. (WHO) The insidious nature of domestic violence often traps survivors, making it difficult to seek help, escape, or even gather evidence. This issue became exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic when lockdowns isolated survivors with their abusers, rendering conventional avenues for support inaccessible. (UN)
To address this pressing crisis, Sophia, the world’s first chatbot designed to assist survivors of domestic violence, available 24/7, available in 12 different languages with more on the way, ensures strict confidentiality. Sophia’s primary mission is to provide a safe, judgement-free space where survivors can access resources and find the support they need.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot, also known as a “conversational agent,” is a computer program designed to interact with users through messaging platforms or applications, offering automated responses. It provides anonymity and expedites communication, eliminating delays that could be detrimental in critical situations. (Zendesk)
How Sophia Works:
Sophia employs a three-fold approach known as “G.A.L.”:
Gather potential evidence: Sophia assists survivors in collecting evidence that could prove vital in legal proceedings, custody decisions, and restraining orders. This feature ensures that survivors can document their experiences safely and securely.
Assess your rights: Sophia offers valuable insights into the legal rights and options available to survivors, empowering them with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions.
Learn about your options: Sophia provides guidance on various aspects of abusive relationships, including planning to leave, finding help, and understanding where and how to access support.
What is a Digital Safe?
Starting in January 2022, Sophia will introduce a digital safe feature, allowing users to gather potential evidence of abuse, offering a practical solution for individuals looking to break free from abusive relationships.
Sophia operates under the strictest security protocols, including compliance with the European General Data Protection Regulation. User data is handled with the utmost care, with a focus on gathering evidence, keeping it securely, and, if preferred, permanently deleting it.
Who Created Sophia?
Sophia was created by the Swiss non-profit organisation Spring ACT – Action. Compassion. Technology, in collaboration with a diverse team of experts in human rights, gender-based violence, technology, communication, personal and professional development, and psychology. Importantly, survivors of domestic violence played a pivotal role in the development of Sophia, actively participating in the process. Furthermore, Sophia was developed in partnership with the Domestic Violence Shelters Association (DAO) and the National Coordination of Victims Assistance (SODK SVK-OHG) in Switzerland.
The launch of Sophia marks a significant milestone in the fight against domestic violence, offering survivors a lifeline in times of distress and empowering them with knowledge and resources to reclaim their lives. Sophia has been accessible in every country on Earth, with users simply typing “sophia.chat” in their web browser or finding her on popular messaging apps like Telegram, Viber, or WhatsApp via QR code or number. This unparalleled accessibility ensures that help is always within reach.
About Spring ACT:
Spring ACT is a Swiss non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic violence and ensuring their rights are protected. The organisation’s diverse team of experts, in conjunction with survivors themselves, has developed Sophia to provide comprehensive and integrated support to those in need.
For more on how you can support -> Spring ACT.