IRVINE, CA — Irvine resident Lori Duquette recently learned first hand how devastating domestic violence is after discovering a close friend was a victim. Seeking to help her friend and other victims of domestic abuse, Lori decided to take action last week. She organized a local "Donate a Phone" campaign to collect pre-owned wireless phones, which will be used to aid victims of domestic violence.
Lori and her friends at the Emerald Salon and Day Spa of Tustin agreed that the salon would serve as an excellent drop off point for the phones. To kick off the collection drive, the Irvine office of Verizon Wireless donated 50 phones. Lori and the salon received an overwhelming response from Orange County residents during the seven-day initiative, gathering 80 additional handsets, for a total of 130 phones.
Verizon Wireless will pick up the collected phones this week and ship them to the "Donate a Phone" recycling center, where they will be refurbished and distributed to potential victims throughout the U.S. Last Fall, Verizon Wireless and Motorola donated 60 digital phones and free airtime to four local domestic and family violence prevention programs in Orange County - Human Options, Human Options - Second Step, Interval House and Laura's House.
The recycled phones can be carried at all times, helping to ensure the safety of women who are threatened by stalking or by domestic violence. In an emergency, pressing one button on the phone connects her with the nearest local law enforcement agency dispatcher, who can quickly assess the situation and send her the help she needs.
"Many women don't know what to do when they are in an abusive relationship," said Lori Duquette. "After personally seeing domestic violence devastate someone close to me, I knew I had to do something to help. I looked into the "Donate-a-Phone" program and thought "I can do that!"
"I would like to personally thank all of those who donated their phones and extend my gratitude to Verizon Wireless for providing the collection drive with a great start," added Duquette. "The work done last week will help future victims in need, and has raised local awareness of a serious and costly problem."
"Donate-a-Phone" is a part of CALL to PROTECT, a national educational and philanthropic initiative that provides the security and mobility of wireless phones to victims of domestic violence. CALL to PROTECT phones help provide security for nearly 100,000 women nationwide.
The following are facts about Domestic Violence in the United States:
- There are approximately 960,000 incidents of domestic violence each year (U.S. Department of Justice)
- 40 percent of teenage girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend (Kaiser Permanente)
- More than 175,000 workdays are lost each year because of domestic violence (Society for Human Resource Management)
- American companies lose about $5 billion every year in increased medical costs associated with battered employees (National Victim Center)
- 17 to 20 percent of women killed in the workplace are murdered by spouses or boyfriends (U.S. Department of Labor studies)
- 31 percent of American women have been physically or sexually abused by a spouse or boyfriend during their lifetime (Commonwealth Fund)
More information about domestic violence prevention hotlines, counseling, sexual assault, child abuse, and elder abuse services, as well as women's shelters/domestic violence programs in Orange County can be obtained by visiting http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/cdic/epic/html/orange.htm. Further information about the Call to Protect and Donate-a-Phone programs can be obtained by calling The Wireless Foundation at (888) 901-SAFE or by visiting the Foundation website at www.donateaphone.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 27.5 million wireless voice and data customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp -- now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 38,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.