Escape Buttons for Emergency Shelter Websites

Well we would be totally lying if we told you that we had problems staying focused on updating everybody as much as we should.

This update is totally worth it, though.

We have just been hired on to furnish a website for an Alberta-based emergency family shelter called Eagle’s Nest Emergency Family Shelter, located in Morley.

This is incredibly important to us. We love being included in the creation of new services being offered to our community. To be honest, all of SLIcore Design’s catalogue is composed of SMBs (Small to Medium Businesses) and non-profits/charities. Just call it a happy accident.

What I would like to indicate here is an important future¬†feature of this website that you can find on many other family shelter websites: an emergency “get out” button. Our client was very particular about this. Essentially, what this means is that a person (by statistics, a woman) who is planning to escape an environment of domestic abuse will have the ability to click a button and leave the website in the event an abuser shows up.

This is very key because the “escaping” portion of an abuse victim’s life is the most dangerous part of his or her life… second only to the time AFTER actually escaping. What many people don’t realize is that a victim of abuse will make, on average, about 7 escape attempts before actually committing to it and moving on with her life. That is the best case scenario.

So all of this… over a button.

Yes. Actually, it’s more than that. In researching other shelters “escape buttons”, we found they’re all just links to another website. If an abuser is overly inquisitive – and a little more motivated – he or she can just hit the back button and see what was going on. What we wanted to see was a button that at least wiped out the back button. This was a project we undertook for research’s sake years ago.

The really strange part of this is that we could not find one document that specifically discussed this very function.

Well that’s all changed. As a matter of fact, it was one of the examples provided by the client that put us onto the proper functions to do this.

The website for Rowan House has an escape button that pops open a new page to your desired website while, at the same time, taking the visitor’s original page to something else benign and directing the back button to Google.

This, as it turns out, is all basic JQuery functions and we have presented it to you here. Why? Well, we just figure that this kind of information is important for developers who might end up contracted to an emergency shelter. If your coding skills are good, and you can just put this together on your own, that is awesome. For some folks, it’s not that easy. For you, we have documented what – as of this publication – it takes to furnish this particular type of “escape button”.

Escape Button Code and WordPress Plugin

The script to just enable this function in a button is not actually all that long and it isn’t very complex. For static sites, just slap this code below into the <head> section of your site or, alternatively, in between <script> tags in the <body> section:

function openWindow()
open(location, '_self').close();
function getAway() {
// Get away right now"", "_blank","",true);
// Replace current site with another benign site
jQuery(document).ready( function($) {
$("#get-away").on("click", function(e) {
//var url = $(this).attr("href");
$(document).keyup(function(e) {
if (e.keyCode == 27) { // escape key

Getting It Just Right

What’s really important to remember is that your button needs to be labelled with the ID of “get-away” as indicated on line 12. Of course you can change your ID all you want, just make sure that it matches in your button.

Notice the Weather Network URL on line 7. You can obviously change this to whatever you want. The same goes for the website on line 9. True, you could probably use this script to really pull a gag on a buddy, which we totally condone, but for the purposes of this exercise, it will be going to the Weather Network for the incredibly life saving purposes indicated above.

Escape Button Plugin

We have gone the distance to create an escape button plugin for your WordPress site as well. Again, it could serve other purposes but it is labelled “Escape Button Plugin”. Also, it isn’t being submitted to the repository yet but you can freely download the .zip file below.

Once again, make sure you label your button with the correct ID. It defaults to “get-away”.

Download Escape Button Plugin

Installation Instructions

  1. Download plugin with link above;
  2. Go to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin from the left menu bar;
  3. Click Browse and select plugin from your Downloads folder;
  4. Click Upload;
  5. Click Activate;
  6. Label your button with¬†id=”get-away”.

Community Support

We hope that this plugin and the code helps you. We shared this because we believe that more developers should be getting involved in the support of the vulnerable and the marginalized.

If this worked for you, please leave a comment. Also, we run the Selfling Teen Support Foundation and its teen support app startup connecting youth to valuable teen support services. If you were interested in showing your support, feel free to purchase one of the Selfling Support bracelets by going to the Selfling Store.