ALBANY, NY — Recognizing the physical, emotional and economic toll that domestic violence takes on the Capital Region's private and corporate citizens, Bell Atlantic Mobile today announced an initiative in conjunction with the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to help victims of abuse.
In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the company donated 50 wireless phones to high-risk victims, enabling them to instantly dial 9-1-1 and receive emergency police or medical assistance 24 hours a day, and also providing them with greater security and protection to leave an abusive relationship. The phones will be distributed to eight area shelters from the counties of Albany, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, and Warren/Washington.
"For women who fear for their lives and the lives of their children, dialing 9-1-1 is often times their only link to safety," said Bob Stott, regional president of Bell Atlantic Mobile, who presented the phones to Sherry Frohman, executive director of the NYSCADV. "Many of us take for granted the ease with which we communicate, anytime, anywhere, yet there are many individuals, particularly victims of domestic violence, whose circumstances do not allow them to communicate. These phones create greater safety and peace of mind to women during dangerous times."
"Few of us can imagine what it is like to live each moment in fear as these women and children do," said Frohman. "Breaking away and staying away from an abusive relationship is a process, it doesn't happen overnight. These phones make it possible to start that process."
A corporate leader in ending domestic violence, Bell Atlantic Mobile today also introduced a toll and airtime-free link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, allowing users to simply dial *HOPE from their cellular phones to reach the hotline. This feature ensures fast and easy access for Bell Atlantic Mobile customers in abusive situations to obtain advice at anytime when calling from anywhere in the company's Maine to Georgia footprint. Customers will be alerted of the *HOPE feature via a bill message. The hotline can also be reached by dialing 1-800-799-SAFE from any phone.
In addition to *HOPE, a series of three domestic violence awareness posters will be distributed throughout Bell Atlantic Mobile's Northeast Region -- in communications stores and company offices. The posters include phone listings and instructions for victims seeking help, or for referring someone to get help.
In comments today, Frohman said, "Bell Atlantic Mobile is showing the Capital Region how to get the job done in deterring domestic violence. By raising awareness in the workplace, donating phones and providing access to *HOPE, Bell Atlantic Mobile is offering their resources and creatively applying them in ways that solve real life problems. It's what good corporate citizenship is all about and I challenge other Capital Region companies to follow this example."
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 112,000 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 5.7 million customers and 7,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent 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 global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.