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New App Aims to Assist Trauma Victims

A St. Paul app developer offers an easier way to save evidence and find help.

New App Aims to Assist Trauma Victims
ClutchSOS's app features a one-button prompt to begin reporting an event the user experienced or is actively experiencing. (Photo courtesy of ClutchSOS)

When victims of traumatic events feel voiceless, ClutchSOS wants to give them a way to tell their story.

The app-based service launched this spring, but the idea dates back almost a decade. Jonathan Rabb, then a student at the University of Minnesota, was hearing news reports of sexual assaults and officer-involved shootings on campus. That growing concern led him to develop ClutchSOS with the help of a U of M professor.

At the core of its service, ClutchSOS provides a quick one-button option for users to record the details of the event on their iPhone (and, in the near future, Android devices). Those recordings, as well as the location of the victim, can be saved as evidence and shared with a group of friends, family, or trusted individuals. Those connected can then call 911 to report the event or get over-the-phone counseling or information.

The young company, based at business incubator Lunar Startups in St. Paul, is already seeing other uses for its service, however, such as Lyft and Uber drivers opening ClutchSOS to document disputes with passengers. The plan costs $1 a month, and ClutchSOS is building a customer base of students and professionals. Businesses are also in the company’s sights. A desktop version of ClutchSOS, at a premium price, is being marketed to companies looking to counteract workplace harassment.

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