Local Victims of Domestic Violence Get Wireless Lifeline Through Bell Atlantic Mobile Phone Donation Program

PITTSBURGH, PA — Emergency assistance is now just a "push of a button" away for victims of domestic violence through a program announced today by Bell Atlantic Mobile and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

Bell Atlantic Mobile and Motorola are donating 200 wireless phones through the District Attorney's Domestic Violence Unit to area shelters for victims to use when away from the shelter to call for emergency assistance. Pre-programmed to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a button, the phones give women some peace of mind and could possibly save their lives in a life-threatening situation.

The four shelters that serve victims in Allegheny County, Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center, Crisis Center North, Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and WOMANSPLACE, will each receive phones as part of the program.

"Bell Atlantic Mobile's program demonstrates the remarkable difference the partnership of law enforcement and the business community can make in addressing the serious problem of domestic violence," Zappala said. "Victims of domestic violence need not only the protection of the law, but also support from the community. The donation of the phones will provide an important link between victims and the 911 assistance system."

Roger Tang, regional vice president for Bell Atlantic Mobile in Pittsburgh, said the company has been committed to domestic violence awareness and prevention since 1995.

"We are putting essential communications tools in the hands of thousands of women who need a vital, reliable link to emergency services at times of crisis," Tang said. "We hope to play an active role in prevention and speeding the life-rebuilding process through this donation, and by raising awareness of the issue to help our friends and co- workers to recognize the symptoms and provide what assistance is possible."

Earlier this month, Bell Atlantic Mobile sponsored a Domestic Violence Awareness Seminar at its Pittsburgh headquarters for regional employers to be trained in how to identify and assist employees who may be victims. To date, the company's Wireless At Work program has provided more than 8,000 wireless phones to programs, arming thousands of victims with emergency communications tools. The company also created its HopeLine? program, a free wireless voice mail system, which gives shelter residents a direct link to potential employers, alternate housing, additional social and medical services, and family members with whom they need to stay in touch.

Tang said the company has also recently worked on programs with the Volunteers Against Abuse Center of Butler County and the Washington Women's Center in Washington, Pennsylvania, each of which will receive a dozen phones.

Editor's Note: Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East and systems in the Southwest, covering 180,000 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 George and in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas. 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.

Bell Atlantic Mobile's Pittsburgh Regional Headquarters, located in Thorn Hill Industrial Park in Marshall Township, includes a local Customer Service Department to provide personalized service to area residents and businesses.