Task Force On Family Violence in Milwaukee Consortium To Address Domestic Violence Through Workplace Initiatives

MILWAUKEE, WI — The Task Force on Family Violence in Milwaukee has established a consortium of Milwaukee businesses to address instances of domestic violence and its effects on employees and companies.

The Employers' Consortium is a membership-based program that offers local employers a range of services that includes education, training and technical assistance with policy development, as well as advocacy and assistance for domestic violence victims within the work setting. Details on the Consortium and its services were announced today at a community breakfast for executives and human resources professionals of area companies.

Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless communications provider, has joined the Employers' Consortium as the organization's founding member. The company has actively supported the Task Force and other Wisconsin domestic violence shelters and programs, providing free wireless phones and airtime for victims, as well as financially supporting special events and materials to help build public awareness of the issue.

"We are pleased to join and plan to be an active part of the Consortium," said David Clevenger, spokesperson for Verizon Wireless. "We support the Task Force's conviction that domestic violence is a business issue and that employee education and company involvement can help counteract it."

As a result, Verizon Wireless will continue its public service and public awareness initiatives on both local and national levels, Clevenger explained. Over the past two years in the state of Wisconsin, the company has donated more than 500 wireless phones plus airtime to domestic violence shelters and agencies. More than $50,000 has been donated to state shelters and agencies. On a national level over the same period, the number of donated wireless phones has exceeded 10,000. Monetary contributions exceed $1 million.

Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Task Force on Family Violence, said the Consortium and area businesses share an obligation to make our workplaces safe for present and potential victims who work throughout the Milwaukee area.

"The workplace should offer safety and refuge for victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, it is also the most predictable place for a batterer to find a victim," she explained.

The Workplace Violence Prevention Fund estimates that 13,000 acts of domestic violence are committed in the workplace annually in the United States. Homicide as a result of domestic violence remains the leading cause of death for women on the job in this country, according to the Fund.

Pitre noted that, despite the prevalence of the problem on local and national levels, employers have been slow to address domestic violence in the workplace. A survey conducted by the Task Force in 2002 reports that 92 percent of responding employers did not have a domestic violence prevention policy or a prevention program in place.

Speaking at today's kickoff breakfast, Kim Wells, executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), Bloomington, Ill., provided statistics from studies of senior corporate executives in which one-third of the respondents acknowledged domestic violence had a negative impact on their bottom line performance.

"The problem can be insidious or very sudden," Wells said. "In either case, the imprint it leaves is visible, emotional and very expensive. No business or level of management is immune from it."

Companies of all sizes can join the Consortium by calling the Task Force on Family Violence at 414-276-1911.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 33.3 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.