ABA Commission On Domestic Violence Announces Launch Of National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory, Sponsored By Verizon Wireless' HopeLine Program

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence today announced the launch of the first-ever National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory, a comprehensive national database of programs providing pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence and made public online at www.probono.net/dv.

Although men also experience domestic violence, research shows the majority of victims are women. Around the world, at least one in four women has experienced some form of violence or abuse during her lifetime, and studies show some 10 million children witness domestic violence each year. This pro bono Web site, along with ABA and their partners’ other initiatives, is another positive step in the effort to prevent domestic violence and create awareness of the issue.

The online directory includes the types of cases these programs accept – e.g., immigration, housing, restraining orders, family law -- the scope of representation; the frequency and content of trainings for pro bono lawyers; and the on-going supervision and/or support provided to pro bono lawyers.

Initially made possible through a grant from the Avon Foundation, which funded the research and start-up costs of the project, the commission joined with Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit organization working closely with nonprofit legal organizations across the United States and Canada, to create and develop the online directory. Pro Bono Net works to increase access to justice for the millions of underprivileged individuals who need but cannot afford a lawyer.

The Verizon Wireless HopeLine® program will continue to fund the directory for at least the next two years, ensuring it remains the most up-to-date, comprehensive and easily accessible resource for lawyers seeking to assist victims.

“We are pleased that Verizon Wireless shares our mission and has chosen once again to support efforts to help victims of domestic violence. With the backing of Verizon Wireless, we will be able to begin to fill a vital resource and information gap, and increase the quality and availability of legal services to victims,” said Judge Pamila J. Brown, chair of the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence.

“Verizon Wireless has a long history of working with the legal and law enforcement communities in many ways, including assisting their tireless efforts to combat the scourge of domestic violence,” said Steven E. Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless. “Programs such as the National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory ensure victims have access to quality legal representation. We are proud to partner with the ABA in this important endeavor.”

This announcement builds upon the existing relationship forged between the ABA and Verizon Wireless. Recently, Michelle Goldman, assistant general counsel at Verizon Wireless, was appointed to the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, where she works to increase access to justice for victims of domestic violence.

About the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence Founded in 1994, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence is the only national organization that focuses exclusively on improving the legal response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The mission of the Commission is to increase access to justice for victims of domestic violence by mobilizing the legal profession. Recent studies have confirmed that access to legal representation is one of the most effective resources for victims of domestic violence to escape violent situations. The Commission addresses the acute need to increase the number of well-trained and supported attorneys providing representation to victims of domestic violence by providing on-going in-person, web-based, and telephonic training opportunities for attorneys, law students, and other legal advocates. Additional information is available at www.abanet.org/domviol.

About the American Bar Association With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

About HopeLine HopeLine, Verizon Wireless’ long-running phone recycling and reuse program, accepts wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any carrier for reuse and recycling at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores nationwide or via mail (postage paid label available at www.verizonwireless.com/hopelinemailinglabel). Phones given to HopeLine that can be refurbished are sold for reuse and those without value are disposed of in an environmentally sound way. Proceeds from the HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. Visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline for more details.

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving 87.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 87,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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