Vodafone backs Indian move to include panic-buttons on handsets

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Move in India is designed to help cut the rising number of attacks on women in the country

Vodafone is backing a move by the Indian government to include panic buttons on mobile phones.

All mobiles sold in India from January 2017 will be required to have a panic button for emergency calls. The move follows concerns about the safety of women in the country. The National Crime Records Bureau claimed there were 337,922 reports of violence against women in 2014 – a nine per cent year-on-year rise. 36,000 of these were rape-related.

Vodafone welcomed the move and said a similar decision by the UK government would be wise.

“Yes, we would welcome a similar move in the UK,”a Vodafone spokesperson told Mobile News. “We’ve had a programme running for the last five years now called TecSOS. It provides a specially adapted phone for women who are victims of domestic violence.

It has a button that links to a dedicated call centre that provides priority over a 999 call. It has saved lives.”

A statement from the Indian Ministry of Communications and Technology said: “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than … for the security of women.”

Police partnership

The TecSOS service has been offered by the Vodafone Group Foundation in partnership with the police. It has been used by 26 police forces across the UK and more than 7,000 victims of domestic violence. According to the Crown Prosecution service, there were 78,773 convictions for violent crimes against women in England and Wales last year.

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