Safe Harbor and Bell Atlantic Mobile TEam to Prevent Domestic Violence

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

Media contacts:

Bell Atlantic Mobile

Julie Horton


Renee Middleton


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.