A button in Brazil may change a culture

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — One of the worst countries for abuse of women, Brazil has struggled to find new approaches to prevent violence.

It may have found one: a Panic Button.

The electronic devices use GPS technology to quickly signal that a woman needs help, and they transmit images that help police track down the attacker.

The button is being given a trial run in the city of Vitória, which hands out the buttons to victims who obtain court-issued restraining orders against their abusers.

Many abusers ignore the piece of paper, so Brazil hopes the Panic Button will persuade abusers to stay away.

“The worst aggression happens behind closed doors,” said Vitória Municipal Secretary of Urban Security Welington da Costa Ribeiro.

“Before, we weren’t able to help victims once the doors to their homes were closed, when their aggressors were their partners, ex-partners or other family members,” he said. “Now we’ve changed that.”

Read the entire story in USA Today.

By Jill Langlois

Originally published in USA Today on August 29/30, 2013.

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