So was born the concept of the StandbyU Shield, which as Chris explains is ‘an immediate and tangible solution that has children, women and families telling us they can sleep safely at night, having gained agency in their lives and peace of mind for them and their loved ones.’
The StandbyU Shield is made up of three parts:
People: We bring together their friends, family and community into a personal Connections Map
Plan: Together, we create a Shield Action Plan based on the identified story of those at risk.
Device: Their Shield plan is uploaded into a wearable device and connected to their chosen network. Upon activation, the Shield sends location via SMS and live audio into a conference room of chosen responders who can listen and assess the best plan for safety. If necessary, they can escalate to emergency services.
‘The aim of this process is to shift away from the current, static safety planning approach (hide, escape and call 000), addressing key issues within the system responses where adverse consequences can be prevented,’ Chris adds.
In 2022, a decade after he began researching ways of how child protection and family support could be ‘done much better’, Chris was one of the first recipients of the Churchill Trust’s Impact Funding grants, an initiative to enhance the outcomes of previous Churchill Fellowships, again across a wide range of industries and sectors.
Chris Boyle’s Impact Funding project was focused on further developing the cloud-based StandbyU Shield solution to encompass national and, in time, global support for individuals and families, and reduce the programming time of each shield by up to 90 per cent. The work entailed extensive liaison with high-level ICT developers.
Given the high departmental case loads of at-risk and abused children, which result in unacceptable delays, such time saving can often make a lifesaving difference.
Recognised as a world first solution the model is now being used across the child protection and domestic violence sectors to keep hundreds of vulnerable Australians safe. The foundation has received Australian Government support to expand across Queensland and ultimately across the country, as well as internationally in the near future.
The StandbyU Foundation has received community acclaim and attracted a range of partners and supporters, including Mission Australia, Westfield, Bendigo Bank, Department of Social Services and many more. It is a home-grown success story in one of the most challenging social fields imaginable.
In an Australia-first partnership with Westfield, StandbyU has established Magnolia Place, an inclusive, walk-in support service in Helensvale, Gold Coast. The service provides brief intervention, linking and advocacy for individuals who are experiencing multiple and complex issues within a relaxed environment.
Chris Boyle is pleased to report that the project Impact Funding is both complete and fully operational, with successful ‘shields’ being positioned every day.
“We now have a fully functional cloud-based solution that can support StandbyU’s national and international expansion,’ Chris says.
‘The total time now required to fully program a new device and safety plan is 10 minutes, and additional features are also being developed.
‘This has been a wonderful opportunity to fast track our solution, and I am very grateful to the Churchill Trust for their support.’