Powerful Documentary on Domestic Violence to Air Oct. 7 on Five Virginia PBS Stations

"Telling Amy's Story," a powerful documentary on domestic violence, will air Thursday night (Oct. 7) on five Virginia public television stations as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  "Telling Amy's Story" chronicles the time leading up to the death of Amy Homan McGee, a Verizon Wireless employee and mother of two who was shot and killed by her husband.

A panel discussion featuring several Virginia domestic violence awareness advocates will follow the program.  The advocates will tape the panel discussion Tuesday (Oct. 5) from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the WCVE PBS studio, located at 23 Sesame St. in Richmond.

The documentary and panel discussion will air Thursday (Oct. 7) from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on WCVE-TV in Richmond; WHTJ-TV in Charlottesville; WVPT-TV in Harrisonburg; WHRO-TV in Norfolk and WBRA-TV in Roanoke.

"We are thrilled to leverage an important national dialogue on domestic violence issues into a regionally informative dialogue on domestic violence issues for a statewide viewing audience on Virginia public television stations," said John Felton, executive producer and vice president of television programming for WCVE PBS.  "Our noncommercial television approach affords us the responsibility and desire to serve our community in ways our commercial television brethren are unable to serve.  This is why public television is still very relevant today."

"Telling Amy's Story" builds on a successful domestic violence prevention program at Pennsylvania State University.  Through the program, Penn State has trained employees and students at university campuses to spot the signs of domestic violence and provide assistance to those in need.  Both the training program and the documentary were funded through Verizon Foundation grants totaling $385,000.

Amy's story is told in large part by Detective Deirdri Fishel, who is a member of a unit in the State College, Pa., Police Department that focuses on a coordinated response to reports of domestic abuse, including participation in the review of domestic violence homicides to find out what clues were missed, or what steps could be taken to stop a similar situation.

Mariska Hargitay of NBC-TV's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation introduces the documentary.

Kristi VanAudenhove, co-director of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, said: "Too often, Virginians die at the hand of their intimate partners.  These deaths, which destroy both lives and families, are preventable.  A coordinated, community response to intimate partner violence - involving law enforcement, medical professionals, courts, social services, schools, faith communities, employers and others - helps prevent these tragedies.

"If you would like to know more about what your community is doing to respond to intimate partner violence, or need help or information, contact your local Domestic Violence Program or the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238."

In the past three years, the Verizon Foundation has awarded more than $15 million to nonprofit organizations that assist domestic violence survivors.

Through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® program, more than 7 million no-longer-used wireless phones have been collected and recycled or refurbished to support domestic violence survivors, generating nearly $8 million that has been given to local agencies since 2001.

Robert Woltz Jr., president of Verizon Virginia, said, "Raising awareness of domestic violence and aiding in its prevention is a key issue for Verizon.  In addition to Penn State and the Joyful Heart Foundation, we are proud to partner with domestic violence awareness organizations and PBS stations in Virginia to bring this important story and its lessons to a wider audience and, hopefully, to save lives."

About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad - including more than $4 million in Virginia.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

WCVE PBS, one of the Community Idea Stations, is central Virginia's primary producer of local programs, including weekly series such as the award-winning newsmagazine "Virginia Currents," the gardening program "Virginia Home Grown," and numerous performance documentaries. The stations' local productions are regularly accepted for national distribution by PBS or American Public Television, including: "Liberty or Death," "Questioning the Constitution," "Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance" and many others.

About the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
The Action Alliance is Virginia's statewide non-profit coalition of organizations and individuals working to end sexual and domestic violence in the Commonwealth. The Action Alliance enhances Virginia's response and prevention efforts through training, public policy advocacy, public awareness programs, and technical assistance to professionals working on the front lines of sexual and domestic violence.