top of page



Wits University + 
Behavioural Insights Team

Reducing IPV in South Africa

South Africa has one of the globe’s highest prevalence rates of intimate partner violence (IPV).  Many young women in South Africa feel that violence is a normal part of relationships, and they sometimes have trouble recognising signs of unsafe or unhealthy partners. Despite the great need for interventions for young women, few low-cost intervention options have been proven to reduce IPV. Until now.


Building confidence, in partnership with Wits University and Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), created the #SafeSigns digital chatbot following a three-year study which showed the effectiveness of a low-cost digital intervention significantly reducing young women’s exposure to past-month intimate partner violence.


Against this backdrop,, Wits, and BIT piloted an interactive digital platform to help young women navigate their relationships safely and confidentially using Whatsapp.


#SafeSigns uses evidence-based behavioural strategies – delivered as a two-way interactive conversation – to help young women reflect on their relationship power, build skills, plan for safety, and learn coping and communication techniques.

safesigns  _ Praekelt _  SocialMedia Posts.png

Making this tool accessible to all

By the time I joined this project, #SafeSigns had completed its three-year study. I was tasked with editing the beautifully written content to remove some of the 'South Africanisms' and make the content accessible for users around the world, ensuring future implementation partners had a foundation on which they could adapt the content for their own audience.

The #SafeSigns chatbot has been packaged open-source to offer implementation partners the opportunity to create and launch their own version to improve outcomes relating to sexual health and IPV. 



bottom of page