Local Groups Develop Apps To Help Violent Crime Survivors And Behavioral Health Patients

Apr 30, 2019

The Pittsburgh Center for Victims is offering survivors of violent crimes a way to stay informed about the legal status of their perpetrators. The center has worked with the Allegheny County Jail to keep survivors informed about release dates for more than 20 years, but according to Center for Victims CEO Laurie MacDonald, the app takes this work a step further.

The app, called Full Circle, sends push notifications to victims every two hours after their perpetrator has been arrested, letting them know where the accused is in the legal process and answering questions victims might have about the justice system. MacDonald says the app can fill the gaps in support left by legal insiders who don't always remember or have time to help vulnerable newcomers. MacDonald says she sees it as a way to level the playing field between perpetrators, who have advocates present by default, and their victims. 

Runner Matt Scoletti trains with the 11-pound vest he intends to wear for the Pittsburgh Marathon.
Credit Courtesy of Matt Scoletti

Users can also access a glossary for legal terms, updated information on court hearings schedules, rulings and release plans. 

Elsewhere in the program:  

UPMC Children’s Hospital is developing a new mental health and wellness mobile app that can be prescribed by a doctor to provide personalized support for young adults with behavioral health needs. Dr. Eva Szigethy, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, says that the focused treatment is fully integrated into medical care to benefit patients and doctors to craft better treatment and build coping and therapy skills. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five teens and young adults live with a mental health condition. 

Last week, officials found a rabid raccoon in Frick Park. It's the sixth animal to test positive for rabies in Allegheny County this year. For 90.5 WESA's occasional series Moment of Science, Sarah Boden visited Mount Lebanon, where two rabid raccoons were found last year, to find out how much people know about the disease and its symptoms.

An estimated 40,000 people will participate in the Pittsburgh Marathon and its other activities this weekend, including Hampton residents Matt and Stephanie Scoletti. Matt will run the 26.2 miles with an 11-pound weighted vest to honor the 11 Pittsburghers killed in the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting last October. He and Stephanie join The Confluence to talk about why it was important to him to honor the victims in this way.

And yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden became the second big name Democratic 2020 contender to campaign in Pittsburgh. Chris Potter, 90.5 WESA’s politics and government editor, was in Lawrenceville for the rally at Teamsters Local #249. He reports that this is the first official campaign event for Biden after announcing his bid for the presidency last week. 

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich and Meg Fair contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.