A new domestic abuse app has been launched by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT).

The app, WEPROTECT, will enable staff to quickly refer victims of domestic abuse for free legal advice in a few simple steps.

The Hatfield-based counselling and mental health service is the first NHS Trust in the country to launch a domestic abuse app.

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WEPROTECT will allow a clinician who identifies someone that needs help to make a referral to the Domestic Abuse Alliance (DAA), who will contact the victim within 24 hours.

The support offered may include general legal advice, issuing a warning letter to a perpetrator, applying for an emergency court order or making an application for legal aid on behalf of the survivor.

Royston Crow: Anita Wilson, Consultant Nurse Safeguarding Children, HPFT with the WEPROTECT app.Anita Wilson, Consultant Nurse Safeguarding Children, HPFT with the WEPROTECT app. (Image: HPFT)

It is currently being used by frontline officers across Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria and Sussex police forces, and by several independent domestic violence and abuse services and charities across the UK.

Karen Taylor, chief executive at HPFT, said: "We are excited to be the first NHS Trust in the country to launch the WEPROTECT app. We know survivors have said that accessible and affordable legal support would have really helped them, and many felt they did not get the right help at the right time.

"We hope that through the app our practitioners will be able to offer vital support at the right moment which, up until now, many have not been so fortunate to receive."


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A domestic abuse survivor also explained how she benefited from the app.

She said: "I was nervous at first but the support I received was excellent.

"The lady I spoke to took her time to explain things to me, which really helped as I have a learning difficulty.

"She was listening and wanted to help rather than just take information.

"If I hadn’t had that support, I think the abuse would have carried on and he would have been able to keep doing what he was doing, because I wouldn’t have spoken out. I’m still on edge as it’s still on my mind, but it’s better now I’ve spoken to somebody about it."