SOMERVILLE, NJ — In 1996, over 2,700 cases of domestic violence were reported to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, a 10 percent increase over 1995, the highest percent increase in the state. Even more disturbing, nearly half of all cases statewide in New Jersey, a child was either present or directly involved in the abuse.
Today, Charles Hand, vice president of retail sales for Bell Atlantic Mobile's New York/New Jersey Metro region, joined victims' advocates to present five wireless phones to Somerset County Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer and County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest. Palmer and Forrest accepted the phones on behalf of Somerset County for the use to aid victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes.
Hand said the phone donation is just one of a series made by Bell Atlantic Mobile throughout the region as part of the company's "Wireless At Work"community service program. "The wireless phones donated today are specially programmed to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a button," he said. "It is our hope that these phones will never have to be used to report an emergency, but if a victim feels threatened, she can rest assured that help will be on the way."
According to Forrest, one of the most dangerous times for a domestic violence victim is after the woman has left her abuser. "These phones will be distributed to crime victims who are considered to be in serious danger and have court orders of protection against their abusers. In a very real sense, the phones will serve as a lifeline for victims who fear for their lives," Forrest said.
"For women who fear for their lives and the lives of their children, dialing 9-1-1 often is their only link to safety," said Hand. "These phones will put safety in the palm of their hands."
Bell Atlantic Mobile's "Wireless at Work" program uses the company's wireless technology to help individuals and communities improve security, emergency communications and enhance quality of life. Since its inception in 1995, "Wireless at Work" has allowed Bell Atlantic Mobile to give back to the community by bringing its wireless products and services to various groups in need throughout the company's service area, from Maine to northern Georgia. During the past two years, the company has donated over 400 wireless phones to aid victims of domestic violence living in the New York/New Jersey area.
Last month, the company donated six phones to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office to help domestic violence victims in that area. Other recent Somerset County donation recipients include the Resource Center for Women and their families which uses Bell Atlantic Mobile HopeLinesm voicemail service to help victims find jobs, housing and social services.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 112,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data, and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 5.5 million customers and 7,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.####