Apps Against Abuse Challenge Winners

circle 6 on watch combo edited

In July 2011, Vice President Joe Biden, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy launched the “Apps Against Abuse” technology challenge, a national competition to develop an innovative software application, or “app,” that provides young adults with tools to prevent sexual assault and dating violence. (Read the full HHS press release on the challenge.)

Young women aged 16-24 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, while one in five will be the victim of sexual assault in college. Many of these assaults occur when the offender, often an acquaintance, has targeted and isolated a young woman in vulnerable circumstances.

The “Apps Against Abuse” challenge called upon the nation’s innovative technology developers to create an easy-to-use application that provides a way for young adults to designate trusted friends, allies or emergency contacts, and provide a means for checking in with these individuals in real time, particularly in at-risk situations.

The developers were also encouraged to provide quick access to resources and information on sexual assault and teen dating violence, as well as where to go for help. Details on and submissions to the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge found on the website.

The winners of the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge are:

Circle of 6

This iPhone app is a prototype that makes it quick and easy to reach your circle and let them know where you are and what you need. It takes two touches to get help.

The app uses text messaging to contact your circle, uses GPS to locate you when needed, connects to reputable domestic violence organizations (if needed), and asks everyone take the pledge on Facebook to stop violence before it happens.

Learn more about the Circle of 6 app by visiting its page on Facebook.

Read the Circle of 6 entry to the challenge.


OnWatch is a mobile app designed to help young adults—those most at risk for sexual violence and dating abuse—protect themselves and provide support to their peers by instantly and discreetly connecting them to the people they trust when they need it most. In just two taps, a user can transmit critical information—by phone, email, text, and social media—to their own support network, emergency services, and campus police.

With five alert modes, seven alarm sounds and a flashlight, OnWatch is a highly customizable app that offers a safety net for the “what ifs” of life. The app also provides links (under the Resources button) to sexual assault, dating violence and domestic abuse hotlines. A corresponding website promotes the importance of respectful and healthy relationships by raising awareness about the danger signs of dating abuse and providing links to educational materials, safety plans, bystander information and additional resources.

For more information and additional resources, visit