The UN estimates that one in three women around the world will suffer sexual violence during their lifetime. Particularly in conflict-affected areas, the vast majority of survivors’ cases never get to court; and those that do often fail due to lack of evidence.
To support the reliable and secure documentation of forensic evidence needed to support sexual violence cases, PHR designed and developed MediCapt, an award-winning mobile application to document forensic evidence of sexual violence.
MediCapt provides a digital platform to facilitate the comprehensive collection of evidence by clinicians, including forensic photography of injuries sustained by survivors. MediCapt allows this forensic evidence to be securely stored in the cloud and safely shared with law enforcement and justice sector officials to inform investigations and prosecutions.
Through innovation, MediCapt is transforming the way evidence is gathered and preserved, bringing new hope for survivors of sexual violence.
How MediCapt Works
Systematic and Secure Documentation
MediCapt includes sophisticated encryption, cloud data storage, high fidelity to chain of custody standards, and tamper-proof metadata. The app’s data mapping feature can help reveal patterns or prevalence of violence, including the widespread or systematic nature of offenses critical to demonstrating crimes against humanity. The app is designed to securely collect data in conflict zones, as well as remote locations where wireless data transmission is limited.
MediCapt’s secure capture feature facilitates the collection of forensic photography, which plays a critical role in documenting the physical injuries associated with sexual violence cases.
MediCapt was developed using a process called collaborative design or “co-design,” in which we field tested the app and incorporated our partners’ feedback early in the development process to ensure that MediCapt truly responds to their needs. We began piloting the app with patients in Kenya in late 2018.
Using MediCapt, clinicians at HEAL Africa Hospital in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are now securely documenting and preserving evidence of sexual violence. French video available here.
- PLOS ONE: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Mobile Application to Improve the Quality, Collection, and Usability of Forensic Documentation of Sexual Violence
- Physicians for Human Rights: Using MediCapt to Document Medical Evidence of Sexual Violence in Kenya Perspectives from the End Users
- Genocide Studies and Prevention: MediCapt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The Design, Development, and Deployment of Mobile Technology to Document Forensic Evidence of Sexual Violence
- Global Health: Science and Practice – mJustice: Preliminary Development of a Mobile App for Medical-Forensic Documentation of Sexual Violence in Low-Resource Environments and Conflict Zones
In the News
- Kenya News Agency: Nakuru Adopts Mobile App to Address GBV (December 2021)
- Voice of America (VOA): Medical App Aims to Tackle Rape, Flag War Crimes in DRC (June 2017)
- Five Evidence-based Approaches that Deliver Results for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and the Clinicians who Support Them (November 2021)
- Novel Research Methods that Avoid Retraumatizing Survivors (December 2020)
- A Tech Solution to Documenting Sexual Violence (May 2019)
- Pioneering a Game-changer in the Fight Against Sexual Violence (May 2018)
- On the Cutting Edge – Without Electricity or Internet (June 2018)
- Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: From the Exam Room to the Courtroom and the Bumpy Road in Between (May 2015)
- Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: Leapfrogging into the Digital Age (May 2015)
In 2019, the New England Business Association awarded its New England Innovation Award in the nonprofit category to PHR for the MediCapt app.
In 2019, The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Coalition recognized PHR as the 2019 Science and Human Rights Innovator for the MediCapt app.
In 2019, MediCapt was selected for the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and World Bank Group Development Marketplace Award for Innovation in the Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence.
In 2018, PHR won a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Solve award for its groundbreaking work on MediCapt, one of eight winners in the “Frontlines of Health” Solver category.
In 2013, MediCapt won first prize in the USAID-Humanity United Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention competition in the Safe Documentation category. The Tech Challenge emerged from President Barack Obama’s Genocide and Atrocities Prevention initiative, under which he pledged to support creative 21st-century solutions to prevent mass atrocities.