5 Apps That Could Make a Difference

By Regan Joswiak*


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and as this month comes to a close, Student Legal & Mediation Services is sharing information to raise awareness of this issue.

There’s a number of apps that have been designed because of the number of sexual assaults on college and university campuses. We don’t endorse any of these apps, but we just want to make you aware of some of the ones out there. Here are 5 of them that all have different features that could help you in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation:




30 day free trial

$0.99 per month

$9.99 per year


OnWatch is a winner of the Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In two taps, a user can transmit information by phone, e-mail, text, and social media to their emergency contacts, campus police, and 911.

The app also provides links under the Resources button to sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic abuse hotlines.


Set up:           

  • Call 911 and Friends—Create a new incident (or “watch”), add new contacts for that watch, and add a custom message. You can have notifications also sent via social media, and a flashlight or alarm can be selected to activate for the watch.
  • Watch My Back – Add contacts, a custom message, and set a timer.
  • Emergency Friends and I’m Here—Add contacts and a custom message.



  • Call 911 and Friends—With two taps, you are connected to local 911 or your campus police, and a customized message is sent to your friends via text and e-mail.
  • Watch My Back— Use the set the timer feature. When the timer expires, you will receive an alert. If you don’t respond to the alert, a customized message will automatically go out to your selected friends. OnWatch includes your GPS location with all messages.
  • Emergency Friends—With two taps, you can send a customized message to your friends only (not emergency services) to let them know that you need help getting out of an uncomfortable situation.
  • I’m Here—This feature lets your friends know that you have reached your destination safely.

Circle of 6



Circle of 6 is the second winner of the Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This app allows users to create a group of six contacts of their choice. If you are traveling alone or want to alert someone that you are in a dangerous situation, this app will send a message with a map and GPS location of where you are to your circle and the local emergency services.


Set up:

  • Health and Safety Resources – add a custom number along with national hotlines.
  • Add six contacts to your circle.


  • After your circle is complete, icons will appear that you can select and a message will be sent to all of your contacts. The options are:

“Come and get me.”

“Call and pretend you need me.”

“I need to talk.”

  • By clicking the checkmark icon, a message is sent to your friends to notify them that you received help.
  • By clicking the exclamation point icon, you can call national health and safety hotlines, or your custom emergency number.
  • By clicking the information button, you can access other health and safety resources.





Created by a survivor of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, LiveSafe allows students to track crimes on campus. Users can report incidents, view a map and a list of reported activity, broadcast a location to family or friends for safety, or call or send a message to 911 or campus police. Students can also submit photos or audio to go along with a report.


Set up:

  • Under the menu, add Sam Houston State University. This will automatically customize the information available in the app so that it corresponds to SHSU/Huntsville.
  • Go to Settings and add emergency contacts.


  • Report Tips—Different categories will appear, and you can select what you would like to anonymously report.
  • Emergency Options—Call 911, campus police, or message campus police.
  • Safety Map—A map will appear with the pins showing safety places, school/agency places, and areas where crimes were reported.
  • Stay Safe—The SafeWalk feature allows you to select a friend who can see your location and chat with you. You can also select Security Escort, which will contact  UPD.



Free for basic features

$8.99 for advanced features, including 24/7 professional monitoring, SafeWalk security escort, Police/Fire/EMS notifications, anonymous crime reporting, and mass broadcast alerts from universities.

Once you tap the EmergenSee app, live streaming audio, video and GPS location data is transmitted directly to your emergency contacts, allowing them to see, hear, and follow the incident.


Set up:

  • Create profile – Name, e-mail address, phone number, etc.
  •  Option to subscribe to a professional monitoring team.
  • Add up to 3 contacts in Settings.


  • Press Fire, Police, or EMS to start an incident and notify the proper authorities.*
  • Use the SafeWalk Feature to connect with a live agent to monitor your location.*
  • Use the timer feature to start recording an incident automatically after the timer expires.
  • Press a button in the app to call 911.
  • Submit a tip to a selected authority using the anonymous tip feature.*

*Features available for subscription only users.


Kitestring 1


Free for 8 times per month, 1 emergency contact

$3.99 per month unlimited usage and emergency contacts

Unlike others on this list, Kitestring is actually a web service rather than an app. The benefit to this is that even if your phone battery dies, the service still operates and will notify your emergency contacts if a timer is set.

You provide the web service with your emergency contact numbers during setup, then let it know when you’re going out alone and how long it will take you to reach your destination. At that time, the app texts you to check in. If you don’t respond, it alerts your emergency contacts.


Set up:

  • Create your user profile.
  • Add an emergency contact.
  • Before going out, set a timer and a custom alert message under Trip Options.
  • Set an optional check-in password and duress code (see below).


  • Operates on a singular Going Out? feature.
  • If you set a check-in password, it will prevent your attacker from being able to check in for you to disable alerts being sent to your contacts.
  • To quickly alert your contacts of a situation, you can set a duress code and check in with it. Kitestring will immediately send your alert message to your emergency contacts.


To get more information regarding sexual assault, read our other blog “Dormancy: Sexual Assault Awareness on Campus.”

If you would like to make an appointment with our office, call us as (936) 294-1717 or go online at shsu.edu/legalservice to schedule a free consultation with our attorney.

SLMS—Pointing Bearkats in the Right Direction

One response to “5 Apps That Could Make a Difference

  1. This is a wonderful post! Thank you for giving us options with these apps. I’ve been concerned about all the situations that have been reported these past four years on campus and appreciate that you are helping to prepare students.

    When I went to school on campus I would walk. My last class usually didn’t end until late and so I would walk back in the dark. Since I wasn’t just going to my car in the parking lot I didn’t think I could ask security to walk me. So, I admit I was nervous to the point of paranoia, I always walked home alone, and every movement behind me was someone possibly coming for me. No one should have to feel that way going home from school.

    I’m not on campus anymore, but I will definitely share this with my friends so they can be safe. Thanks again!

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