Chris Boyle: Commsync Foundation: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Social worker develops a life-changing safety plan
Compassionate. Tenacious. Respectful
Social worker Chris Boyle has developed a way for women and children at risk of domestic violence to call for help discreetly if threatened.
Chris is the founder of the non-profit Commsync Foundation, which provides free wearable technology that transmits live audio and location at the touch of a button or in response to a voice command.
This alerts pre-identified supporters to call triple zero or respond in another way.
“Our passion is to give a voice and a tangible solution to our community’s most vulnerable,” says Chris, who has 25 years of experience in community work and in 2012 completed a Churchill Fellowship on child protection and family support systems.
He feels honoured to be voted a Westfield Local Hero. “I am privileged to be giving vulnerable women and children a voice and to have that recognised by our community.”
The foundation’s philosophy is that recipients must never pay for their protection, and Chris and his colleagues have funded devices for 200 people.
The foundation trains caseworkers to help recipients identify their responders, which can take time as many are isolated from family and friends.
“The process helps them transition out of isolation into inclusion, connecting them with people who now know they are vulnerable and commit to caring for them any time, any day, any place. The connection helps circuit break the cycle of domestic violence,” says Chris.
The technology in itself is not the solution, he says. “It is just a tool. The solution is people who care.”
One recipient says: “Knowing I’ve got my safety team available at the push of a button has given me my life back. The feeling is awesome.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
The foundation will use its grant to provide devices to ten vulnerable people. “The investment will change their lives forever,” says Chris. “We will keep those devices on for as long as they need. That could be for years or decades.”
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.