News National ‘If it doesn’t feel right, get out’

‘If it doesn’t feel right, get out’

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A mobile phone app has been created to help young women understand the warning signs of controlling and abusive behaviour in relationships.

The iMatter app was designed to teach women about intimate partner violence and build resilience.

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Director of clinical services at community services group Doncare Carmel O’Brien said users could share content and use the app as a personal journal.

“It’s a bit like a virtual library of images, video clips, quizzes, articles,” she said.

Ms O’Brien said many girls thought controlling behaviour was actually protective.

“[Girls told us] we hear about healthy relationships in all sorts of useful ways,” she said.

Nobody tells us about that fine line between abusive and controlling behaviour.

“But nobody tells us about that fine line between abusive and controlling behaviour.”

The app will be launched by Australian of the Year and anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

This week she penned an emotional letter to her son Luke Batty who was murdered by his father a year ago.

The app provides some advice Ms Batty said she wished she had been given as a younger woman.

“If it [the relationship] doesn’t feel right, get out of it. Get out,” she said.

“It never gets better. And I think that’s the unfortunate thing about relationships.

“We rarely do end them when we should.”

A recent Australian study found 22 per cent of girls aged under 20 had been victims of harm from dating violence.

Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack said a lot of young women did not realise they were victims.

“Young women can commonly report that they understood jealous behaviour and stalking behaviour to be an indication their ex or their partner really, really loved them,” she said.

“But this can be very, very dangerous and can lead on to more harmful and disrespectful behaviour.”

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