WILMINGTON, DE — In conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Bell Atlantic Mobile today launched the first state-wide wireless phone recycling program aimed at helping victims of domestic violence stay safe. To help jump-start the drive, Bell Atlantic Mobile is teaming with Motorola to donate 100 wireless phones.
Bell Atlantic Mobile's "Wireless at Work" Phone Recycling Program will allow wireless phone users throughout Delaware to donate their unused older model cellular phones at drop-off sites. Bell Atlantic Mobile will reprogram these phones to dial 9-1-1 only, before they are distributed to victims of domestic violence.
The drive begins today and runs through November 15. Phones will be collected at the offices of Sen. Biden and then distributed through the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence to direct service programs in Delaware.
"Last year in Delaware, nearly 2,000 women were issued Protection From Abuse orders and about 560 women and children sought refuge in one of our state's three battered women shelters," said Sen. Biden. "But sadly, as we have seen time and time again, a stay-away order does not always keep an abuser away. Thanks to this cell phone recycling program, victims of domestic violence will be armed with a direct link to emergency police services - - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have no doubt that these cell phones will save lives. So, we are sending out a call to the people of Delaware to recycle their old, used cell phones for this cause."
Donated phones must be portable models in working condition and include batteries and chargers. Phones, batteries and chargers must be placed in bags or boxes before drop-off.
"Our business is about helping people communicate anytime, anywhere, and for women who are trying to safeguard against an abuser, communication takes on even greater significance," said John Stratton, regional president for Bell Atlantic Mobile. "With a 9-1-1 phone in hand, victims have a vital, reliable link to emergency service in times of crisis."
"We're excited to be part of this program and hope that Delaware residents donate their unused cell phones to help keep victims of domestic violence safe," said Carol Post, executive director of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "These 9-1-1 phones are an invaluable resource for victims who are in immediate danger."
Bell Atlantic Mobile has been a corporate leader in the fight against domestic violence. Since 1995, the company's "Wireless at Work" program has provided more than 8,000 wireless phones to programs, arming thousands of victims with emergency communications tools. And this month, the company teamed with Motorola to donate 2,500 phones throughout its service area, including today's donation in Delaware.
The Family Violence Prevention Fund reports that women are the targets of physical abuse in the U.S. every nine seconds, and 42 percent of women murdered in this country are killed by their husband or boyfriend. The Domestic Violence Coordinating Council cites these alarming statistics about domestic violence in its 1998 annual report:
- Domestic violence comprises nearly one-third of the violent crime that occurs in Delaware.
- In 1998, there were 16,030 reported criminal domestic violence - 1,960 Protection From Abuse Orders were issued in Family Court -- an increase of 649 orders from 1995.
- In the same year, a total of 561 women & children state- wide were housed in battered women's shelters and 3,612 calls were received by the shelter hotlines.
- Wilmington (844 King Street)
- Dover (1101 Federal Building, 300 South New Street)
- Georgetown (Georgetown Professional Park, Suite 108, 600 North Dupont Highway)
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East and systems in the Southwest, covering 180,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.6 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.