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Design Challenges

Based upon the 2019 Research Findings report, Comic Relief, together with the research team and in consultation with a number of organisations in the domestic and sexual abuse sector, updated the key design challenges.

These have been prioritised on the basis that if addressed effectively and safely, these solutions would make the most immediate difference to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The design challenges are intended to inspire innovation in the design and delivery of services for people affected by domestic abuse, both online and offline. 


The four key design challenges are:


1 Realising its abuse

People have a better understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like, realising when they are experiencing abuse in their relationship and/or when they are abusive towards others. Friends, family, co-workers and professionals they interact with are also better able to identify this and know how best to support them.

2 Finding the right information at the right time

People are able to find the right information at the right time. Using different platforms, they can access relevant, trustworthy, and safe sources. Key tools and resources are easy to find, simple to navigate, and quick to interact with. People of all ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, and abilities can easily find resources relevant to them.

3 Effective real-time information and support

People can find and access services for support (including referrals, if required) seamlessly and with minimal logistical and emotional burden, in a format that works in the moment, context, and time people have. Real-time support is available when it’s most needed, including in the middle of the night or during the weekend. People of all ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations,
and abilities can easily connect with services relevant to them.


4 Recovery

People have access to advice, information, resources and tools to help rebuild their lives, tailored to different situations. This includes support for mental health issues, confidence building, practical needs, families affected by abuse, and understanding healthy relationships.

Application of the challenges

We believe that, if these challenges are addressed effectively and safely, they could contribute to improving the situation for victims and survivors of abuse. We also believe that these challenges are intertwined with one another and overlap. Those addressing them would need to identify the core user need that they are trying to address. Solutions could involve developing new technology (from sophisticated chatbots to a simple app), repurposing existing technology (such as social media and messaging services) or mobilising data and analytics creatively to help people access effective information and support more easily. Each challenge should
be considered in the light of the supplementary resources generated through this research, detailed below.

In order to support the sector to start addressing these challenges, Comic Relief set up the Tech Vs Abuse grants initiative. The second round of the funding programme opened for applications in June 2019 and is funded jointly with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Clothworkers' Foundation. 

Click here to see the 11 organisations supported through the second round of Tech vs Abuse. 

Click here to see the initiative page for Tech vs Abuse 2.0.

Read more about the 2019 funding programme on Comic Relief’s website.

Original 2016-17 design challenges

The first round was funded jointly through the Tampon Tax Fund, a partnership between Comic Relief and HM Government, and the Big Lottery Fund, to create a fund of over half a million pounds for projects focussed on technological innovation and creative digital solutions, which improve the safety of women and girls affected by domestic abuse. See more:

Please note if you are an organisation applying to the 2019 funding call, please use the above, updated design challenges.


To read the full 2016-17 research findings report, click here (full PDF opens in new tab).


Download the full, original 2016-17 Design Challenges report by clicking the icon below:


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