Jodie Powell recently interviewed Julie Newman about Toppako and how it is helping families during the COVID-19 outbreak. Their conversation was also recently featured in the Courier Mail and Quest Community News.

A web-based application could hold the key to keeping things civil between separating couples as they put divorce plans on hold during the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Co-founder Julie Newman and her colleagues created Toppako to improve communication during times of crisis, and announced this week the program would be available free to users during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ms. Newman described Toppako as an “emotional spellchecker” and said the program, once users signed up, filtered out aggressive messages using artificial intelligence to identify a more neutral and respectful tone.

“The writer is encouraged to rewrite the message positively and respectfully,” she said.

Toppako can be used through desktops and phones so people can use their usual email and SMS accounts, protected from abusive and hurtful language – and even emojis

It has also been adopted by legal firms to help clients navigate heightened emotions associated with separation and divorce.

O’Reilly Shaw Family Lawyers principal Erin Shaw, who has clients who use Toppako, said Covid-19 had created many challenges, meaning respectful dialogue was more important than ever.

Ms. Shaw said many couples were “putting pause” on negotiations because of uncertainty about house prices and superannuation funds, creating the potential for added strain.

“It’s so easy to shoot off a text and being the recipient of an unchecked message can be very distressing,” Ms. Shaw said.

“It’s an unprecedented time and parents just need to be understanding, flexible and empathetic.”

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers Associate Polly Richardson said her clients who had used Toppako were relieved by the improvement in communication.

“(Clients) describe how constructive, effective and practical the platform is in protecting them from further domestic and family violence during communication following separation,” she said.

Ms. Newman said Toppako allowed people to communicate privately, safely, and securely – and could be used by lawyers to help with legal discovery of any form of attempted abuse during proceedings.

“If required by the courts, Toppako can sort emails and messages for lawyers, securely recorded in the cloud,” she said.

Brisbane mother of two Katja (not her real name) started using Toppako after she left her husband and his rage spilled over into electronic communication.

“The hateful, abusive text messages and emails to me and my girls were unproductive,” Katja said.

“I started using Toppako to protect my children, which helped the process immensely.

Watch how Toppako works on a device or desktop.

Toppako in the news.

For more articles about Toppako and how it is helping families