Safe Harbor and Bell Atlantic Mobile Team to Prevent Domestic Violence
Wireless phones donated to Safe Harbor's
battered women's shelter
October 23, 1997
Bell Atlantic Mobile
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.
Akerhielm was joined today by Renee Middleton, Safe Harbor's executive
director, to announce the donation of the phones to Safe Harbor. Safe
Harbor is the fourth organization to receive loaned cellular phones 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 communities.
Safe Harbor 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 victims to go to work, move about more freely within their
community and not worry about being without help," added Akerhielm.
Last year, Safe Harbor, Inc. provided shelter for over 300 women and
their children and responded to almost 1,100 crisis calls.
"The Bell Atlantic Mobile loaner phones are an enormous tool in
providing more secure situations for our clients," said Renee
Middleton. "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, the
Hall County Solicitor's Office in Georgia, and to Sistercare, Inc. in
Columbia, South Carolina.
"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 Middleton. "It's a true comfort to battered
women knowing that help is only a phone call away no matter where they
Editor's Note: Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless services
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 of
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 5 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.