Columbia Family Violence Council And Bell Atlantic Mobile Team To Prevent Domestic Violence
Wireless phones donated to Sistercare's battered women's shelters
September 10, 1997
COLUMBIA, SC -- The Columbia Family Violence Council and Bell Atlantic
Mobile have joined 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.
Bell Atlantic Mobile Regional Sales Manager Frank Roddey was joined
today by Columbia Family Violence Council chairman Mayor Bob Coble to
announce the donation of cellular phones to Sistercare, Inc.
Sistercare, Inc. is the third organization in the Carolinas to receive
loaned cellular phones from Bell Atlantic Mobile 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
Sistercare, Inc. 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 them to go to work, move about more freely within their
community and not worry about being without help," added Akerhielm.
As a member of the Columbia Family Violence Council, which promotes an
integrated community response to prosecuting abuse cases, Sistercare,
Inc. serves battered women and their children in five counties by
providing shelter, crime intervention, advocacy and community
training. Last year, Sistercare, Inc. provided shelter for 819
battered women and their children and responded to almost 5,100 crisis
"The Bell Atlantic Mobile loaner phones are an enormous tool in
providing more secure situations for our clients," said Nancy Barton,
executive director of Sistercare. "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 and to
the Hall County Solicitor's Office in Georgia.
Sistercare was a previous recipient of Bell Atlantic Mobile's
HopeLine program. HopeLine is a free voice mail service that gives
individuals a single point of contact for communicating with
prospective employers and landlords, child and health care providers
and family members. Sistercare benefited from 25 voice mail boxes,
and since 1995, over 50 individuals have secured employment and
housing through this service.
"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 Coble. "It's a true comfort to battered women knowing
that help is only a phone call away no matter where they are."
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 or
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 4.9 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.