Words by Smiley Team
An app and the team behind it are on a mission to help people feel safer whilst walking home and to tackle fears of street crime.
WalkSafe was launched in 2021 after being co-founded by Emma Kay, a mum of two who felt impassioned to foster a sense of safety among women and vulnerable groups.
In less than a year the app has had more than half a million downloads and, whilst Emma believes the app shouldn’t have to exist, she hopes it will help to tackle gender-based harassment and violence.
“I’ve been groped, catcalled, followed and flashed at and I’m not alone. Enough is enough," says 33-year-old Emma. "There is an epidemic of violence towards women and we must be able to walk home safely."
The app began as a family affair, with Emma’s brother-in-law devising the first generation WalkSafe app after she shared her vision with the family.
It uses a live app which shows both police and WalkSafe community reports of crimes or potential dangers in the area, with the information used to plan safer routes and post live updates.
Another feature is TapSafe which immediately connects the user with their loved ones if and when they feel scared whilst walking, particularly at night, and can also share location if needed.
WalkSafe also can alert loved ones if the user fails to arrive home when expected, with a specific time and place set in place.
“WalkSafe has been created by women for women," says Emma. "Our safety features give women another layer of protection so they can live the lives they want in freedom.
“Other apps often rely on external tracking which we know women don’t want, as how do women know who is tracking them? WalkSafe puts that totally in the control of our women users and that’s where it should be.”
WalkSafe experienced a huge surge in downloads following the death of Sarah Everard in March 2021, not long after the app’s launch. It's vitally important to founder Emma that the app remains free to download, as a ‘safety lifeline’ for anyone feeling vulnerable.
Two weeks ago, WalkSafe received a £300,000 investment led by Fearless Adventures to develop the personal safety app further and keep it free to use.
Emma and the WalkSafe team hope to stay at the forefront of women’s safety and continue to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, which they hope will one day end.
SPREAD THE WORD: Download the app and share with others, by visiting walksafe.io.
DONATE: Donate to Solace Women's Aid, a charity existing to end the harm done through violence against women and girls.