MILWAUKEE — A wireless communications company is emphatically voicing its concern and underscoring it with an extensive commitment to help curb instances of domestic violence in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin and the country.
Verizon Wireless, the U.S.'s largest wireless communications provider, has launched a national public service campaign to counteract domestic violence by bringing it to the attention of communities and corporate America.
The Wisconsin commitment involves an extensive donation of emergency phones to area domestic shelters in Madison and Milwaukee. Approximately 100 phones are initially being provided to Milwaukee area domestic violence direct service organizations. The program will be administered by the City of Milwaukee's Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The majority of the phones will be used to help provide safety and independence for domestic violence victims.
Additionally, to build awareness and provide assistance throughout the workplace, the company has produced a series of dramatic posters emphasizing the impact of domestic violence on women, families and businesses. The posters are being made available through the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF). Businesses can order them for a nominal fee to cover the cost of shipping and handling through the FVPF's Web site.
Plans for the campaign were outlined at an October 24th media conference at Milwaukee's City Hall. Participants in the conference included Congressman Tom Barrett and City of Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist. The civic leaders were joined by national and local leaders in preventing domestic violence. They included Rita Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, based in Denver, Colorado and Andria De Toro, Coordinator of Milwaukee's Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Both leaders focused on the impact of domestic violence on families, companies and communities.
The donated emergency phones are pre-programmed so victims in life-threatening situations can dial 911 and other emergency services with the push of a button. Phones for domestic violence professionals, caseworker and victim assistance volunteers are designed to help contact victims and report abuse.
"Wireless phones with emergency access offer security and a potential lifeline protecting victims of domestic violence. We're pleased to make them available to address this disturbing national issue," said Eric Schaefer, general manager - Wisconsin, for Verizon Wireless. He added that the company's posters are designed to bring the issue to the attention of companies and communities throughout the workplace. Statistics show one-third of Americans report abuse at some point in their lives.
"Domestic violence affects every community and every employer. We are providing the posters to businesses so they can be prepared to assist abused employees in getting the help they need," Schaefer said.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 26.3 million wireless voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging 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 32,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.VerizonWireless.com/mediacenter/index.shtml