Los Angeles City Commission On The Status Of Women and Verizon Wireless Combat Domestic Violence

Los Angeles, CA — The City of Los Angeles' Commission on the Status of Women and Verizon Wireless today unveiled the latest tool in the fight against domestic violence - stark, hard-hitting posters that drive home the impact of domestic violence on women and their employers. Sponsored by Verizon Wireless, the posters are designed for display in offices throughout the U.S. to encourage employers to help their employees who are affected by domestic violence.

Los Angeles City Council member Cindy Miscikowski helped introduce the posters, stressing to corporate leaders and local officials that domestic violence is a workplace issue that businesses must address.

"The Commission on the Status of Women and Verizon Wireless should be commended for their on-going efforts to create an awareness of the serious problem of domestic violence and its impact on the workplace. Now that women represent 50 percent of the American work force the issue of domestic violence is no longer just a threat felt in our homes. The potential impact in the workplace on victims and their coworkers must be a primary point of focus in education efforts around this issue," said Council member Cindy Miscikowski, Chair of the Public Safety Committee.

The three posters in the series feature black and white photos of everyday women who cover their scars and bruises with sunglasses or a turtleneck sweater. The posters speak to three audiences:

  • Corporate leaders: Stressing that domestic violence undoubtedly affects the business and encourages them to prepare their workplace to help those in abusive relationships.
  • Co-workers: Urging colleagues to help victims of domestic violence get the assistance they need.
  • Victims: Assuring that their company will support them in getting help.

"We have long known the toll domestic violence takes on the victim, the family and the community. Unfortunately, we are beginning to learn how domestic violence impacts the workplace, often with devastating results," said Paula Petrotta, Executive Director of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women. "Companies lose billions of dollars a year in lost productivity and absenteeism. But the most significant factor it brings into the workplace is the danger and risk to employees as we have seen so clearly in some of the most tragic, recent events that have happened in our City," Petrotta concluded.

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Thirty-seven percent of women who experience domestic violence say that the abuse had an impact on their work performance.

"With one-third of American women reporting abuse at some point in their lives, domestic violence is an epidemic that can affect anyone and also impacts the workplace," said Mike Finley, Regional President, Verizon Wireless. "That is why in addition to donating phones and airtime to local shelters, Verizon Wireless is encouraging companies in Los Angeles, and throughout the U.S., to prepare their workplace to help those in abusive relationships, and use these posters to both help victims understand that their company will support them in getting help and encourage co-workers to help victims of domestic violence get the assistance they need."

Verizon Wireless' sponsorship of the national poster campaign is part of the company's participation in The Corporate Citizenship Initiative (CCI) on Domestic Violence, a first-of-its-kind national project that brings together leadership teams that will link business, government, labor leaders, victim advocates and state domestic violence coalitions to develop workplace-based programs to stop domestic violence.

Working with its advertising agency Bozell New York to design the posters, Verizon Wireless funded the costs of photography and production and supplied the posters to the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), which will provide them to interested employers for a nominal cost-covering fee. Employers interested in obtaining posters for the workplace may visit the Family Violence Prevention Fund at www.fvpf.org. Additional information on local domestic violence programs in a business' area is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.

"Through employee volunteering, executive leadership, and its commitment to domestic violence prevention organizations, Verizon Wireless is working to inspire businesses throughout the nation to join the fight against domestic violence," added Finley.

Working with the FVPF's National Workplace Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Verizon Wireless has instituted a number of policies and internal programs to help employees recognize the signs of abuse, learn how to approach the situation, and get involved in helping victims piece their lives back together. Continuing the tradition of work conducted by Bell Atlantic Mobile since 1995, Verizon Wireless' philanthropic campaign uses wireless technology and financial resources to help increase awareness of domestic violence in communities and provide essential communications to help assist victims in emergency situations.
###About The Family Violence Prevention FundThe Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) is a leading national, non-profit organization focusing on domestic violence prevention, education, advocacy and public policy. The FVPF founded the National Workplace Resource Center on Domestic Violence in 1995 to address the need for collaboration between business and domestic violence advocates. The FVPF also coordinates Work to End Domestic Violence Day each October -- a day when private businesses, public agencies and unions hold programs and distribute materials to alert workers to the prevalence and severity of domestic violence. Work to End Domestic Violence Day will be October 3 this year.About the Corporate Citizenship Initiative (CCI)Launched by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Corporate Citizenship Initiative is sponsored by The Hitachi Foundation, Blue Shield of California and Verizon Wireless. Over the past few years, state and national leaders have made tremendous progress in increasing employers' awareness that domestic violence is a workplace issue and in creating innovative models of workplace-based prevention and intervention. This first-of-its-kind initiative builds upon these efforts by linking business, governmental, labor, and victim advocate leadership throughout the country to develop workplace-based programs to stop domestic violence. Participants in the CCI work together to make a significant impact on the way their state and the nation address domestic violence.About The Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women The Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women was established by ordinance by the City Council and Mayor in 1975. In 1980, the Commission was made a permanent department of City government. The Commission assists in assuring to all women the opportunity for full and equal participation in the affairs of City government and promotes the general welfare of women in the Los Angeles community. About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp --now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.