LAUREL, MD — Domestic violence is a year-round issue. Surveys indicate that approximately one-third of women in the United States have suffered abuse from a loved one.* During October, National Domestic Violence Awareness month, Verizon Wireless continues its commitment to domestic violence awareness and prevention through various donations and programs both nationally and throughout the greater Washington/Baltimore region.
Following are local examples of how Verizon Wireless is working to support domestic violence prevention efforts:
- District of Columbia: The company has agreed to donate 10 Verizon Wireless telephones for emergency distribution to victims of domestic violence served by the Victim Services Program, a new effort launched in Spring 2001 by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia. The phones, which are pre-programmed to dial 911, as well as hotlines for the Victim Services Program, House of Ruth and My Sister's Place, will provide an emergency lifeline to local victims in need of assistance. Verizon Wireless is also providing five Verizon Wireless telephones to a research team from Georgetown University that is conducting a study of 400 battered women in the Washington/Baltimore area. The researchers will use the wireless phones to conduct interviews and place and respond to emergency calls from victims.
- Anne Arundel County: A company representative will be participating in the October 20th Bag for Bucks fundraiser organized by the Anne Arundel Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. The event will take place at Graul's Food Market in Annapolis, and monies raised will go to benefit local children affected by domestic abuse. Verizon Wireless is also supporting the 911 Connection for Protection used-cell phone collection effort conceived and organized by Maryland Girl Scout, Katie McDonald. The company was recognized during National Victims' Rights Week 2001 by the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office for its in-kind support of this innovative public-private partnership to help domestic violence victims, along with the Maryland Girl Scout and Anne Arundel County Deputy Sheriff Fred Shiflett.
- Baltimore City and County: The company continues its phone donation program and has on loan 100 Verizon Wireless telephones to the House of Ruth in Baltimore and CHANA (Counseling, Helpline & Network for Abused Women). The phones, which are pre-programmed to dial 911 and the shelter's hotlines, are given to domestic violence victims free-of-charge to provide an emergency lifeline in times of need or crisis. Verizon Wireless has also equipped the Community Care-A-Van sponsored by Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with a wireless phone and fax line to facilitate and coordinate care for medically underserved individuals. One of the regular stops that the mobile healthcare unit makes is to the Family Crisis Center in Dundalk that serves domestic violence victims.
- Howard County: On October 17th, the company continued its ongoing support for the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County by sponsoring From the Heart Day. Nearly 100 Verizon Wireless employees volunteered their lunch hours and break times to form an assembly line and stuff personal care bags for residents served by the Center's four shelters. The bags contained soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, deodorant and other personal care essentials. Domestic violence victims are often forced to flee their homes unexpectedly without the time or forethought to pack the personal care items they will need while living temporarily in a shelter.
Verizon Wireless is also addressing domestic violence as a serious business issue. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, 37 percent of domestic violence victims say abuse at home directly impacts their work performance. Therefore, the company has implemented programs allowing employees to reach out discreetly and ask for help or express concern for co-workers. Human Resources departments are also quipped with the information and authority to respond appropriately and effectively.
Through its HopeLine program, Verizon Wireless puts its own wireless products and services into the hands of victims to help get their lives back on track. The company has donated thousands of wireless phones, pre-programmed to dial 9-1-1 and one other emergency number, in the event of an encounter with an abuser. Voice mailboxes are also donated to individuals in shelters, allowing for private communication with family members, potential employers and landlords without the abuser's knowledge.
"As a company, we realize the business impact of domestic violence, and have taken progressive steps to ensure the well-being of our employees. And as people who live and work in the greater Washington/Baltimore region, we are proud to support organizations that make a difference by promoting domestic violence awareness and prevention in our communities," said Patrick J. Devlin, regional president for Verizon Wireless in Washington/Baltimore and Virginia.
Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, is a corporate leader in the fight against domestic violence. It has implemented programs within its workplace to raise awareness and provide assistance to employees. Also, throughout the year, the company supports both local and national organizations, which provide education, outreach and direct assistance to victims and families. And through its HopeLine Program, which works through human services and law enforcement agencies, Verizon Wireless collects used wireless phones and donates new wireless phones to victims of domestic violence.
*The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman's Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women's Health, May 1999
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 http://www.verizonwireless.com.