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Three Aussie friend launch safety app after Jill Meagher’s murder


Three mates horrified by the rape and murder of Jill Meagher have crated an app to help stop other women being attacked on their way home.

Matt Ball, Ross Sbisa, and Chris Jonker designed Safie, an app that alerts friends if the user is in trouble, and records their location, audio and video of the situation.

Mr Sbisa said the trio watched coverage of the search for Ms Meagher, the discovery of her body, and the arrest of her killer in 2102 and decided to do something about it.

‘I am a father with three beautiful daughters and a beautiful wife. I thought to myself, “this has to stop”,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

Mr Sbisa (pictured with his daughters) wanted to improve safety for Australians after the high-profile murder of Ms Meagher

Mr Sbisa (pictured with his daughters) wanted to improve safety for Australians after the high-profile murder of Ms Meagher

Mr Sbisa and his wife began researching and were alarmed by how little information was out there about keeping safe.

He discussed the problem with Mr Ball, a personal security expert, and Mr Jonker, a digital expert, and they began working on the program.

The app allows people to alert their designated contact that they’re in trouble, sends images from both the front and back of the camera, and pinpoints the location of where they are. 

A panic button sends pre-written SMS alerts to notify contacts why the users needs help.

Once pressed, the app starts taking continuous pictures, records audio, and activates a GPS locator, while an alert is sent to a nominated emergency contact.

The Safie App (pictured) can be used for a range of scenarios, from children alerting parents they are lost, to friends asking friends for help escaping uncomfortable situations

The Safie App (pictured) can be used for a range of scenarios, from children alerting parents they are lost, to friends asking friends for help escaping uncomfortable situations

The button can be used for notifying friends or family that you have made it to a destination, kids telling parents they are lost, or contacting a friend to get you out of an uncomfortable a social situation.

The final application, the ‘I’m not OK’ button, came from the stress of lockdowns and a growing national awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues, especially in young adults.

Mr Sbisa said the app was initially intended to help children safe but once after kicking off the development they realised it has a vast range of applications. 

Jill Meagher (pictured above) was a 29-year-old Irish woman living in Australia who was raped and murdered by Bayley in Melbourne in September 2012

Jill Meagher (pictured above) was a 29-year-old Irish woman living in Australia who was raped and murdered by Bayley in Melbourne in September 2012

‘At first we began thinking about all the situations our kids might find themselves,’ he said.

‘We came up with everyday events like going to and from school or school sport, going to the movies or the beach with friends, wandering away on family shopping trips.

‘Then the ideas started to grow; a teen needing to be picked up from a party, an adult needing a phone call to get them out of a first date mistake, an older person who has had a mishap, or even someone who is feeling low.

‘The more research we did, the more uses we found. A young driver can let a parent know they’ve arrived safely. 

‘Businesses can use it for employees coming and going at late hours through areas that do not feel safe.’

Mr Sbisa said the panic button was a great tool to help people seek help in situations where they may be too shocked to react. 

‘People freeze when they’re frightened,’ he said. 

‘Working out how to get out of a dangerous or awkward situation can take time or be impossible in the moment. 

Matt Ball, Ross Sbisa, Chris Jonker (pictured in name order left to right) have created an app to help Australian women seek help fast when they are in trouble

Matt Ball, Ross Sbisa, Chris Jonker (pictured in name order left to right) have created an app to help Australian women seek help fast when they are in trouble

‘If you’ve worked it out before, you can act. You get help, you get out and you get safe.’

Safie is available on both IOS and Android phones and can be downloaded now. 

Ms Meagher was raped and murdered by a stranger while making the short walk back to the Melbourne apartment she shared with her husband, Tom, in September 2012. 

Eerie CCTV footage was aired across Australian TV screens showing the 29-year-old being approached on the way home by Adrian Bayley – who would be later given a life sentence for her murder – in hopes the missing woman might be found safe. 

Her body was found in a shallow grave north of Melbourne six days later.



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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