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Bell Atlantic Mobile Expands Domestic Violence Program
To Victims In Vermont
Cellular Phones Provide Instant Link to Police
July 15, 1998
Jeanne Keller or Lynn Waller
Burlington, VT -- To assist victims of domestic violence in Chittenden
County, Bell Atlantic Mobile today announced the donation of 20 cellular
phones to five Chittenden County organizations working with victims of
domestic and sexual violence. The donation is part of the company's
"Wireless at Work" effort to arm victims of domestic violence with
powerful, state-of-the-art wireless technology that provides a crucial
lifeline to the police.
Ken Dixon, Executive Director of Bell Atlantic Mobile's Upstate New
York and Vermont Region, presented four cellular phones to Women
Helping Battered Women, bringing the total to twenty (20) wireless phones
distributed by Bell Atlantic Mobile to Chittenden County domestic violence
programs since June. Other organizations receiving donations include the
Chittenden County State's Attorney's Domestic Violence Victim Advocate
Program, the Burlington Police, Vermont State Police and the Chittenden
Unit for Special Investigations. All five organizations will make the cellular
phones available to women at risk of domestic violence, stalking or sexual
abuse, and are specially programmed to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a single
"It is our hope that these phones will never have to be used to report an
emergency," Dixon said, "but if a women feels threatened, help will be on
the way immediately. This public/private sector partnership is a perfect
example of how we can pool our resources to help break the cycle of
"Women in domestic abuse situations need a way to summon help instantly
from wherever they are. With these phones, domestic violence victims will
be safer at home or leaving their homes," said Chittenden County State's
Attorney Lauren Bowerman. She said the phones would also serve as a
lifeline for women who have left their abusers and are living on their own.
"We all thank Bell Atlantic Mobile for recognizing that having wireless
phones in hand will allow these women to go about starting a new life with
less fear," she said.
Angela Bibens from Women Helping Battered Women agreed that
domestic violence victims can still be in danger, even after leaving the
abuser. "They may have moved to a safe house, away from friends and
family, to escape their abusers," she pointed out. "They feel isolated and
vulnerable. These cellular phones put some power and control into their
hands," she said.
"We are called to domestic violence situations on a daily basis," said Lt.
Stephen Wark, speaking for the Burlington Police Department. "Now when
we leave the house we can leave the woman with a tool that will connect
her and her children to the security and safety they need in an emergency
situation," he explained.
Dixon said the cell phone donation in Chittenden County is one of a series
made by Bell Atlantic Mobile all along the east coast as part of the
company's "Wireless at Work..." community service program. Wireless at
Work has donated over 1,500 cell phones to victims of domestic violence
in cooperation with law enforcement, district attorneys' and prosecutors'
offices throughout the company's service area. Bell Atlantic Mobile plans
to continue distributing wireless phones throughout Vermont in 1998, and
will also initiate voice mail box donations to transitional housing programs
Bell Atlantic Mobile is a corporate leader in the fight against domestic
violence, and has earmarked $100,000 in 1998 to help victims of domestic
violence by providing wireless technology solutions. In 1998 Bell Atlantic
Mobile also donated $10,000 to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, one
of the nation's leading organizations working to improve the health, judicial
and public policy responses to domestic violence.
Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless service 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 more than 5
million customers and 7,000 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic,
Southeast, and - through a separate subsidiary - the Southwest. Through
its "Wireless at Work " community relations program, which includes
HopeLine® voice mail service, Bell Atlantic Mobile uses its wireless
technology to help individuals and communities improve security and