Verizon Wireless Provides HopeLine<sup>SM</sup> To Women's Resource Center In Scranton

Verizon Wireless Provides HopeLineSM To Women's Resource Center In Scranton

Free Voice Mail Service Gives Communications Link to Victims of Domestic Violence

January 31, 2002




Women and their children in Susquehanna and Lackawanna counties who seek assistance at the Women's Resource Center in Scranton now have a new link to safety and support. Verizon Wireless is providing the Center's clients free voicemail service as part of its HopeLine domestic violence program. This service enables clients to stay in touch with current or potential employers and landlords as well as social services and family members with whom they need to maintain contact.

"These free voice mailboxes will help to keep our women and children safe by providing a means for confidential communications," said Amanda Gaardsmoe Hart, residential manager for Women's Resource Center. "It is an important tool for victims of domestic violence as they search for safe housing, seek employment and address their legal and medical concerns."

By having a phone number answered with a personalized voicemail message, the women have a way to keep in touch with parents, other family members or medical personnel with whom they need to maintain contact. The program also allows the women who are seeking employment or housing to avoid the misperceptions associated with living at a shelter.

For non-residential clients who may still be living with an abuser, these voice mailboxes provide an additional benefit. Frequently an abuser restricts a victim's use of the telephone or monitors the calls she receives. This service gives her the ability to have a private phone number where family, friends or others who are supporting her can get messages to her without those messages being intercepted by the abuser.

No special equipment is required to use these voice mailboxes, which can be accessed through any telephone system.

Verizon Wireless provides its HopeLine programs free of charge to numerous shelters throughout Pennsylvania. The company launched HopeLine in 1993. Hundreds of individuals who are temporarily living in domestic violence shelters have used the program to obtain employment, find permanent housing, or maintain contact with family, medical personnel or other social services.

"Extending our voicemail program to the Women's Resource Center in Scranton is a natural way of putting our technologies to work for the community and its residents," said Roger Tang, president, Verizon Wireless Pennsylvania Region. "Our HopeLine programs have been tremendously successful throughout our region, and we hope that victims in this area can also benefit when they need a link like this to help them through a time of emergency or crisis."

Women interested in the voicemail program and other services offered by the Women's Resource Center should call 570-346-4460 or for emergency services call the Center's hotline at 570-346-4671.

About Women's Resource Center

The Women's Resource Center Inc. is a private non-profit organization committed to ending violence against women and children through social change efforts and programs that support the autonomy of individuals, their safety, and their search for a life free from, but not limited to, physical attacks, property destruction, belittling behavior, sexual harassment, and economic deprivation. WRC has been serving Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties in northeastern Pennsylvania since 1976.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the leading wireless communications provider in the U.S., with the largest wireless network and more than 29.4 million customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.

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