Columbia Family Violence Council And Bell Atlantic Mobile Team Up To Prevent Domestic Violence

Columbia Family Violence Council And Bell Atlantic Mobile Team To Prevent Domestic Violence

Wireless phones donated to Sistercare's battered women's shelters

September 10, 1997

Media contacts:

Julie Horton


Nancy Barton


COLUMBIA, SC -- The Columbia Family Violence Council and Bell Atlantic

Mobile have joined together to loan victims of domestic violence

wireless phones to use in reporting emergency situations.

"Victims of domestic violence are vulnerable to threatening situations

just about anywhere -- in their cars, on the street and even in their

own homes -- and they often don't have immediate access to traditional

landline phones in such emergencies," said Jim Akerhielm, Bell

Atlantic Mobile vice president-Southeast region.

Bell Atlantic Mobile Regional Sales Manager Frank Roddey was joined

today by Columbia Family Violence Council chairman Mayor Bob Coble to

announce the donation of cellular phones to Sistercare, Inc.

Sistercare, Inc. is the third organization in the Carolinas to receive

loaned cellular phones from Bell Atlantic Mobile to help in the

prevention of domestic violence. After the success of a pilot project

with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Domestic Violence Unit

in Charlotte, NC, Bell Atlantic Mobile established a permanent program

in the Southeast and began steps to spread the program to other


Sistercare, Inc. will administer the program, including training

domestic violence victims in the use of wireless phones, as well as

monitoring the use of the phones. Bell Atlantic Mobile has committed

to donating the wireless phones and airtime.

"With wireless technology, we can give the assurance and the added

security of knowing that help is only a cellular phone call away --

enabling them to go to work, move about more freely within their

community and not worry about being without help," added Akerhielm.

As a member of the Columbia Family Violence Council, which promotes an

integrated community response to prosecuting abuse cases, Sistercare,

Inc. serves battered women and their children in five counties by

providing shelter, crime intervention, advocacy and community

training. Last year, Sistercare, Inc. provided shelter for 819

battered women and their children and responded to almost 5,100 crisis


"The Bell Atlantic Mobile loaner phones are an enormous tool in

providing more secure situations for our clients," said Nancy Barton,

executive director of Sistercare. "The most dangerous time for a

domestic violence victim is when she has left her abuser. Even with

protective orders and bond conditions, the victim is at risk. It is

so easy for abusers to disable regular telephones; these wireless

phones provide both a portable and tamper-proof lifeline."

The donation of the four wireless phones is part of an ongoing program

called "Wireless at Work...". Bell Atlantic Mobile has already

donated cellular phones and service to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Police Department's Domestic Violence Section in North Carolina and to

the Hall County Solicitor's Office in Georgia.

Sistercare was a previous recipient of Bell Atlantic Mobile's

HopeLine program. HopeLine is a free voice mail service that gives

individuals a single point of contact for communicating with

prospective employers and landlords, child and health care providers

and family members. Sistercare benefited from 25 voice mail boxes,

and since 1995, over 50 individuals have secured employment and

housing through this service.

"Domestic Violence victims often feel alone and appreciate any tools

that help them stay connected to the outside world. We are certain

the wireless phones will add a sense of security to those victims in

danger," said Coble. "It's a true comfort to battered women knowing

that help is only a phone call away no matter where they are."

Editor's Note:

Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless service

provider on the East Coast and the second largest in the United

States. The company owns and operates the most extensive network in

the East, covering 111,000 square miles, and the largest chain or

wireless retail outlets offering a full range of wireless personal

communications services, including voice, data and paging. Based in

Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 4.9 million customers and

7,000 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and through

a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The company is the chief

wireless subsidiary of the new Bell Atlantic, formed through the

merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX corporations.