News Release

Domestic Violence Victims Get Help From Citywide Billboard Campaign

City of Chicago, Verizon Wireless, FVPF Team Up in Awareness Effort

October 15, 2001

Carolyn Schamberger
carolyn.schamberger@verizonwireless.com
847-619-4282

Thomas Ciesielka
312-664-6100

CHICAGO, IL — A major billboard campaign has been created and produced by the City of Chicago's Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence, Verizon Wireless and the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) to assist victims of domestic violence.

Chicagoland residents and visitors commuting throughout the city are being exposed to a stark, high-impact image that helps promote the City of Chicago's 24-hour domestic violence "Help line." Displayed at over 100 neighborhood locations throughout the city, the billboard features a black and white photo of a woman trying to use sunglasses to cover up her facial bruises that are a result of domestic violence.

Verizon Wireless supported the creative adaptation of the billboard image from a poster produced by the wireless phone company and FVPF for use by employers to help their employees affected by domestic violence. The Mayor's Office on Domestic Violence paid for the production and posting of the billboard from a grant by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

The City of Chicago has launched a major effort to involve all members of the community in making domestic violence everyone's business. Taking the message developed for employers to a wider audience, the billboard encourages the reader to "end the silence now" by reaching out to those in abusive relationships. The billboard campaign is designed to reach two audiences:

  • Victims: It gives those who are abused the opportunity to make a toll-free call to help them get out of a dangerous situation.
  • People who know victims: Often people want to help victims of domestic violence but do not know what to do. The phone number on the billboard provides a connection to life-saving help.
The City of Chicago Help line functions as a clearinghouse for community-based services to victims of domestic violence. It is able to navigate the various private and public services to link the victim with the most appropriate programs. It operates 24 hours a day, every day, is toll-free and multi-lingual.

"These billboards are vital to promoting the City's Domestic Violence Help line, which is a critical link between victims and the services they and their children need to escape their life-threatening situations," said City of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. "We are pleased to have been able to team up with Verizon Wireless to get this message out."

"Verizon Wireless has a long history of commitment to domestic violence awareness and prevention among the communities we serve," said Dan Mead, president - Midwest Area, Verizon Wireless. "We're proud to have play a key role in making this innovative billboard campaign happen. By teaming up with the City of Chicago on this initiative, I feel we can make a difference in the fight against domestic violence."

The billboard campaign is just one element of a comprehensive Domestic Violence awareness program between the City of Chicago and Verizon Wireless, which includes the distribution of domestic violence posters to more than 7,000 businesses throughout the city. In addition, Verizon Wireless stores throughout Chicago will be displaying a poster developed by the city that indicates, "there is not room for domestic violence in the neighborhood."

As across the nation, domestic violence is occurring in every neighborhood in Chicago:

  • Everyday, the Chicago Police Department responds to an average of 569 domestic violence-related calls for service.
  • The City's Help line averages 1,500 calls a month.
  • The Chicago criminal misdemeanor domestic violence court issues on average 220 orders of protection a week."

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.

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