Verizon Wireless Announces "One Call To Safety" Public Service Initiative

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — More than 132,000 domestic violence incidents are reported in Minnesota annually. Last year, at least 44 Minnesota women and six children were killed in the place they should feel safest — at home. Sobering statistics like these are the motivation behind an initiative led by Verizon Wireless to increase public awareness of the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line, a toll-free number that connects battered women in the state to a nearby shelter with just one call. This number is 1-866-223-1111.

Verizon Wireless announced today that it has joined with the Day One Center, Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund to initiate a statewide public service campaign to promote the crisis line. The campaign includes a variety of media from radio to billboards with a guaranteed media value of more than $160,000.

Paid radio announcements will air Oct. 15-31 on WLTE and V105 in the Twin Cities and by Oct. 22 more than 250 radio stations throughout Minnesota will receive public service announcements recorded by Sheila Wellstone, a national domestic violence spokesperson. Each station will decide when to air the announcements. The radio campaign is funded by the Day One Center through a contribution from Verizon Wireless and a grant from Target Corporation.

Eighteen eye-catching billboards provided by Clear Channel Outdoor Minneapolis will be located in the Twin Cities and Rochester with three locations provided by Lamar Advertising in Duluth. Powerful indoor women's restroom posters provided by Next Media/AJ Indoor will appear in 100 locations per month for six months in Bemidji, Brainerd, Mankato, Duluth, Rochester and the Twin Cities with additional locations provided based on space availability.

"Verizon Wireless is dedicated to domestic violence awareness and prevention," said Rich Garwood, president, Great Plains Region of Verizon Wireless. "Minnesota has led the country in creating this one call to safety crisis line, and we hope this campaign will spread the word to those who need help."

Since its launch one year ago, the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line has served approximately 2,000 battered women. While every destructive situation that is stopped is significant, this number represents less than two percent of the reported domestic violence cases in Minnesota. "Although the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line has assisted many women and their families, we know there are many more we're not reaching because they don't know about this service," said Pat Prinzevalle, executive director of the Day One Center.

The Day One Center is a partnership of all 25 Minnesota domestic violence shelters that are connected via the Internet to provide updated information on bed availability and services.

With one call to the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line, a woman is immediately connected to a shelter nearest her that has capacity. If she isn't able to get to the shelter herself, transportation will be provided.

Minnesota's Domestic Violence Crisis Line number with services shared by all the state's shelters is unique in the United States. "The Day One project has become a model for the nation," said Sheila Wellstone. "My husband, Sen. Paul Wellstone, has introduced the National Domestic Violence Hotline Enhancement Act. This bill models the technology of the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line to ensure that women and children across this nation have access to safety, shelter and advocates who can address their needs."

Before the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line existed, women frequently made eight to 15 phone calls before finding shelter. "Since women were not able to access help immediately, many times they just gave up," said Prinzevalle. "Because of Verizon Wireless, the rae mackenzie group which donated agency services and the other campaign sponsors, lives will be saved."

The Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line is 1-866-223-1111.

About The Day One Center, Inc.

The mission of Day One Center is to establish partnerships that provide battered women and families access to immediate services with one phone call. Currently 25 domestic violence shelters are linked to share information concerning bed availability and services. Through the generosity of its major funding supporters, including Allina Health System Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - Center for Crime Victim Services and the Medtronic Foundation, The Day One Center established the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line (1-866-223-1111), the first statewide toll-free number in Minnesota for survivors of domestic violence.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28.7 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at