In an effort to raise awareness, Verizon and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler were joined on Thursday (Oct. 4) by Rep. Elijah Cummings to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month and honor several Maryland nonprofits working to combat abuse against youth and adults. The Verizon Foundation is awarding grants to these nonprofits to aid in their efforts.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse affect people who are married, unmarried, heterosexual, gay or lesbian, living together, separated or dating. The violence takes many forms and can happen constantly or once in a while.
Maryland Attorney General Gansler has spearheaded tougher domestic violence laws through his role as co-chair of Maryland's Family Violence Council.
"We must do everything we can to prevent domestic violence and hold abusers accountable for their actions," said Gansler. "This tragedy often spreads from generation to generation and we must work together to end the cycle of violence through ongoing coordination and collaboration among all segments of the community."
According to Rep. Cummings, "Domestic violence affected nearly 18,000 Maryland men, women and children in 2010. This tragedy destroys families and leaves physical, mental and psychological scars for years beyond the actual trauma. This must stop. I am proud to stand with Attorney General Doug Gansler and Verizon today in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month -- and to honor these organizations that continue to work hard every day to eradicate this tragedy."
During today's recognition ceremony, Verizon announced $50,000 in foundation grants to the following recipients:
- After School Dance Fund, which supports a domestic violence prevention education program targeting 200 underserved, diverse high school students. The students learn how to develop healthy relationships among peers and learn strategies for addressing domestic and dating violence and empower peers in the community and schools.
- House of Ruth, for its Gateway Program, which educates and engages men in efforts to prevent domestic violence, and incorporates key activities such as skill building, ongoing support for nonviolence, and collaboration with the criminal justice system to eliminate future violence against an intimate partner.
- Kennedy Foundation.Net, for educational workshops for 80 to 100 girls to include domestic violence awareness and prevention, self-esteem, image and health/wellness/safety among other topics. The goal is to have participants display a positive reaction, attitude and commitment toward the safety information that is provided to them.
- Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, which trains more than 300 health care providers to effectively address, respond to and prevent domestic violence by identifying patients who are being abused, documenting the abuse and making referrals to local service providers. The program will provide comprehensive domestic violence training specific to health care and train health care providers.
- Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation, which implements domestic violence prevention programs and training to assist survivors and their families, and increase knowledge about how to prevent domestic violence in their communities.
Anthony A. Lewis, Verizon's mid-Atlantic region vice president of government affairs, said: "Domestic violence is a serious but preventable crime that affects millions of Americans in every segment of society. While the problem is universal, the solutions are not. Domestic violence victims face many challenges. We're grateful that our funding will help break this vicious cycle and make a meaningful impact in these victims' lives forever."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. This is more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
Domestic violence prevention is a priority focus for Verizon. By using its technology, financial resources and partnerships, Verizon is addressing critical social issues. And, through its HopeLine® Phone Recycling Program, the company provides wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and cash grants to local shelters and nonprofit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy.
The Verizon Foundation helps people to live healthy, safe and independent lives by addressing disparities in education, health care and sustainability. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 94 million retail customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 188,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
About Attorney General Doug Gansler on Domestic Violence
The AG has a long history as a lead advocate for domestic violence victims, which began when he prosecuted domestic violence cases as an Assistant United States Attorney. His work on those cases provided insight into the complexity of domestic abuse and as Montgomery County State's Attorney he started the first domestic violence docket in the county's history - designed to specifically handle this unique crime. As State's Attorney he also championed the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, a collaboration of public and private social service agencies seeking to provide services to families impacted by domestic violence. As the current chair of the Governor's Family Violence Council (FVC), he has worked with the council's members and other advocates to continue to ensure our laws address the problems faced by domestic abuse victims. For more information on AG Gansler, visit www.oag.state.md.us.