SAFECITY - Crowdmap to address sexual and gender based violence


Strategy type (tool, event, training course, etc.)
Crowdmap - app for crowdsourced data and visualisation in open source format

Scope of the practice (local, national, international level)


When did it start/end?
2012 - ongoing

Name of the organization
Red Dot Foundation

City and country
Mumbai, India


1. Describe your project briefly
Red Dot Foundation works at the intersection of gender, data and tech, urban design and community engagement. Its flagship program is Safecity, a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. This data which maybe anonymous, gets aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends at a local level. The idea is to make this data useful for individuals, local communities and local administration to identify factors that causes behaviour that leads to violence and work on strategies for solutions. Since our launch on 26 Dec 2012 we have collected over 13,500 stories from India and abroad and have directly reached over 750,000 people. Our Mission: Red Dot Foundation aims to make cities safer by encouraging equal access to public spaces for everyone especially women, through the use of crowdsourced data, community engagement and institutional accountability.

2. What is the aim of the project? 
Bridge the data gap that exists because of the silence around sexual and gender based violence. Encourage breaking the silence by creating a community of solidarity. The data itself is powerful and useful to improve our understanding of the violence and the context in which it happens as well as can be used by individuals, communities and institutions for prevention of the violence. We are creating a new data set which currently does not exist. Perception of the police's insensitivity as well as cultural backlash deters people from reporting. They feel more comfortable using our platform and this is seen by reports from over 20 years ago. By representing the information thus collected on a map as hotspots, we are moving the focus away from the "victim" to the location and people can view the issue with a different lens. Today we make choices for pretty much everything based on reviews - books, movies, restaurants, hotels but we have nothing for personal safety.

3. Who was involved in designing process?
ElsaMarie DSilva and the team who cofounded Safecity and subsequent inputs by team members, volunteers and interns working with communities.

4. If you could change something, what would you change?Create a plan for localised partnerships with a variety of partners - NGOs, police, residential associations, civic administration, educational institutions.

5. How do the project impact on civil society? 
It was a new way of looking at the problem - not through individual cases but patterns and trends that were emerging from the data set. It has helped improve our understanding and has been used in various research papers to further that understanding - response of bystanders in buses when it occurs, cost of sexual harassment in Delhi for college women, etc. It has been used to engage police, transport authorities, educational institutions and others to make spaces and transport safer. Individuals and communities have used it to begin dialogue in their neighbourhoods for prevention. Women and girls have become more confident to speak up, share their story and also take action - by confidently navigating a city, demanding their rights, negotiating for higher education and more mobility, etc.


6. How do you evaluate the project’s impact?
Through case studies of the various campaigns, focus group discussions and individual questionnaires and surveys.

7. Is there anything else would you like to share with us?
Our mobile app is being refurbished and should be available with new features in November.