Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile And Hall County Solicitor's Office Team To Prevent Domestic Violence
Wireless Phones Donated To Victim-Witness Program
July 29, 1997
GAINESVILLE, GA -- Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile and the Hall County
Solicitor's Office Victim-Witness Program have joined together to loan
victims of domestic violence wireless phones to use in reporting
"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 NYNEX Mobile vice president-Southeast region. "But, with
wireless technology, we can give the assurance and the added security
of knowing that help is only a cellular phone call away -- enabling
them to go to work, move about more freely within their community and
not worry about being without help."
Akerhielm was joined today by State Court Solicitor Jerry Rylee and
Attorney General Thurbert Baker to announce the donation of cellular
phones to the Victim-Witness Program. Hall County is the second
community Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's Southeast Region has loaned
cellular phones to help in the prevention of domestic violence. After
the success of a pilot project with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police
Department Violence Unit in Charlotte, NC, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile
established a permanent program in the Southeast and began steps to
spread the program to other communities in the region.
The Hall County Victim-Witness Program will administer the program,
including training domestic violence victims in the use of wireless
phones, as well as monitor the use of phones. Bell Atlantic NYNEX
Mobile has committed to donating the wireless phones and airtime.
Also playing a major role in this effort is the new Domestic Violence
Unit of Hall County Solicitor's Office established in January as a
cooperative effort with the Hall County Sheriff's Department. Staffed
by 10 specially trained officers, this unit responds to domestic
violence calls and gathers documentation to aid in prosecution.
In the first six months this year, the Domestic Violence Unit has
increased the number of Solicitor's Office cases involving domestic
violence, such as telephone harassment, battery, criminal trespass and
stalking, to 456 cases from 396 for the same January-June time frame
in 1996 -- a 15 percent increase.
"The Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile loaner phones are an enormous tool in
providing more secure situations for our clients," said Rylee. "The
most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim is when the abuser
is out on bail after arrest. Even with temporary 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 three wireless phones is in addition to two phones
donated earlier this year through the local Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile
Communications Store. In January, the first phone was assigned to a
domestic violence victim whose abuser was scheduled for release after
a six-month jail sentence.
"We were certain, based on the abuser's history, that he would return
to his abusive behavior and might even cut her phone lines as he had
done previously," Rylee said. "Today, the victim and her children are
able to sleep at night knowing help is only a phone call away."
"We were excited to hear how well the first two phones were working
for Hall County, and are now glad to make this additional loan and
welcome the Solicitor's Office as Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's second
Domestic Violence Initiative location in the Southeast," said
Editor's Note: Bell Atlantic NYNEX 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 NYNEX Mobile has 4.9 million
customers and 6,500 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic,
Southeast, and through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The
company was formed in July, 1995 by combining the cellular operations
of Bell Atlantic Mobile and NYNEX Mobile. For more information, visit
our home page at www.banm.com.