The CAS/VAW Collaboration Committee, an initiative consisting of Children Aid Societies (CAS) and Violence Against Women (VAW) agencies in the Toronto area, is mandated to identify and implement collaborative activities between the two sectors in order to increase the safety and well-being of children and women. To assist agency workers, a mobile app was developed to provide women's shelter details, sample tours, and service directories to at-risk women.
Creating a comprehensive, current, and relevant tool that enables workers to educate and alleviate stress for at risk mothers and children, regardless of the availability of a secure Internet connection, is a vital step towards the effective execution of the committee’s mandate.
A visual tour of an existing shelter was made available in Panorama format which allowed users to pan around each room in a dynamic fashion. The ability to expand on the existing framework means that multiple locations can be made available as well as multiple rooms from the same location. Panoramas are reviewed by agency administrators in order to exclude any and all identifying location markers prior to releasing them to users. This ensures that discretion and safety are maintained and treated as paramount.
In order to simplify the distribution process and to ensure availability in all situations, a browser-based presence was provided with all administrative and content population processes handled via the website CMS. Visitors to the website are able to review general information regarding the committee and its mandates while additional, more sensitive information can be found behind a permissions-based, controlled environment. The CMS provides direct and easy access to the list of services and other content which the agency can maintain themselves.
Each service in the directory has the additional ability to link to a map view of their location. This feature is only available from within the secured and monitored areas of the application and can be used at the sole discretion of agency administrators in order to meet their particular safety and security concerns.
Background information regarding the agencies and their services, as well as information related to woman abuse and its impact on children, is presented in a clean and organized format. This information is powered by a database to allow for easy management by the agencies via an administration interface.
A searchable directory accessible only to agency staff, provides listings of available services including key information such as location, contact information, brief description, link to their website, etc. This information is powered by a database to allow for easy management by the agencies via an administration interface.