Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project Expands Hotline to Cover All of Southern New England

BOSTON - The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project's innovative hotline program, designed to aid gay male victims of domestic violence, will expand to cover all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the organization announced Wednesday (Oct. 3).

This program is believed to be the first gay/bisexual/transgender male domestic violence hotline in the nation to stretch beyond one state.  It is funded through a $75,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation.

"The Verizon grant is significant for several reasons," said Curt Rogers, director of the GMDVP, at a news conference at the Family Justice Center here.  "It expands a model program into other states, and it provides a lifeline to gay, bisexual and transgender male victims currently without access to services. It also raises awareness among other corporations that domestic violence is a critical issue that impacts everyone."

The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project has operated a statewide 24-hour hotline in Massachusetts for eight years. The hotline is answered by a team of staff and volunteer advocates.

Rogers, a domestic violence survivor, said the hotline provides a necessary service for victims who often fall through the cracks of traditional domestic violence hotlines or outreach.

"In my situation, I was unable to find a domestic violence shelter because many mainstream shelters focused solely on female victims of domestic violence," said Rogers.

The grant from the Verizon Foundation will be used in part to hire a regional hotline coordinator who will be responsible for overseeing the larger staff of volunteers and geographic area.

"Domestic violence is an issue that affects every segment of society," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon president of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Statistics have shown that 1 in 4 gay men will be victims of domestic violence. Verizon is proud to work with the GMDVP to assist on this worthy project."

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 62 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.