BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Bell Atlantic Mobile, a corporate leader in the fight against domestic violence, today marked the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by teaming with Motorola to donate 2,500 Motorola wireless phones to domestic violence support organizations throughout its service area. This newest effort, part of Bell Atlantic Mobile's "Wireless At Work" program, is one of the most extensive domestic violence assistance program ever spearheaded by a wireless service provider.
"By providing women who live in fear with a free wireless phone -- complete with a battery and charger, and equipped to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a button -- Bell Atlantic Mobile is giving them a tool that not only can provide some peace of mind, but could also save their lives," said Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "This is a company that has recognized the crisis of domestic violence and has put its power behind awareness and prevention."
Also today, Bell Atlantic Mobile announced a donation of $25,000 to the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) for its National Workplace Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a groundbreaking collaboration between the FVPF, employers and unions across the country. According to the FVPF, nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives (1998 Commonwealth Fund survey).
"Domestic violence is a very real problem that is not diminishing despite significant drops in crime rates in this country. And while it's often swept under the rug, Domestic Violence affects our neighbors, friends, and co-workers in ways unimaginable," said Denny Strigl, CEO of Bell Atlantic Mobile. "Through our Wireless At Work initiative, we have put essential communications tools in the hands of thousands of women who need a vital, reliable link to emergency services at times of crisis. In addition, by helping to raise awareness through community efforts, we can help our friends and co-workers recognize the symptoms and play an active role in both prevention and the life rebuilding process."
Since 1995, Bell Atlantic Mobile's Wireless At Work program has provided over 8,000 wireless phones to programs, arming thousands of victims with emergency communications tools.
The company also created its HopeLine? program which assists victims of domestic violence by giving them a direct link to help, most recently through * HOPE. By dialing * HOPE, Bell Atlantic Mobile customers have a direct link the National Domestic Violence Hotline where they can receive advice on coping with abusive situations at anytime, when calling from anywhere in the company's footprint.
Since 1995, Bell Atlantic Mobile has supported the Family Violence Prevention Fund's efforts with donations. As part of its ongoing relationship with the FVPF, Bell Atlantic Mobile will also provide customers at its more than 200 Communications Stores with awareness cards during October, offering tips on how to recognize whether someone may be a victim of domestic violence.
"Not only has Bell Atlantic Mobile donated a service which is undeniably valuable in combating domestic violence, they have proven themselves as a leader in raising public awareness to the alarming severity of the problem," said Esta Soler, executive director of the Family Violence Prevention Fund. "It is this elevated awareness of domestic violence that proves most valuable in saving lives."
This October, Bell Atlantic Mobile is teaming with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association's (CTIA) to contribute to the "Call to Protect" program. Under the "Call To Protect" program, CTIA members will donate over 11,000 wireless phones to victims. Bell Atlantic Mobile's contribution of 2,500 phones is one of the largest among wireless carriers in CTIA's nationwide efforts.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 120,000 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 6.6 million customers and 8,000 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, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) 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.####