RICHMOND, VA — Ten years ago, the Virginia General Assembly passed landmark legislation designed to curb incidents of family violence. On October 15, timed to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell will host a summit to bring together Virginia's leaders to recognize the decade's achievements and set a course for future action. The Richmond summit is being sponsored by a $5,000 grant from the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® phone recycling program.
Nearly a third of all homicides in the Commonwealth involve domestic violence, according to a recent report issued by the Virginia Department of Health. The Attorney General says that statistic needs to change. "Domestic violence threatens the most vulnerable among us, destroys homes and ends lives. It is imperative that law enforcement, government officials and the private sector come together to combat domestic violence and bring hope and help to victims," said McDonnell.
Speakers for the summit include the Attorney General, State Senator Janet Howell, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marilyn Tavenner, and Verizon Wireless Regional President Tami Erwin. Erwin is expected to announce more than $145,000 in Virginia domestic violence prevention grants from the Verizon Foundation and the Verizon Wireless HopeLine phone-recycling program. She will also accept the donation of nearly 1,500 no-longer-used wireless phones for the HopeLine program from Richmond Police Sergeant Carol Adams. The HopeLine program collects no-longer-used wireless phones to be refurbished, recycled or sold; proceeds are donated to domestic violence advocacy groups or used to purchase wireless phones with airtime for use by victims.
Carol Adams has personally collected thousands of phones and donated them to the HopeLine program in memory of her mother, Orine Adams, who died as a result of domestic violence. Verizon Wireless has donated a total of $10,000 to the Richmond YWCA to help build a playground at the Y's domestic violence shelter in honor of Orine Adams.
Since 2001, the company has collected more than four million wireless phones at stores around the country and in special collections organized for colleges, interested businesses, law enforcement agencies, and civic groups. Proceeds benefit victims of domestic violence by providing essential communication tools through the donation of wireless phones and service and support through financial grants. HopeLine has generated about $4 million in grants and $10 million in in-kind contributions for domestic violence prevention groups nationwide.
"The HopeLine program has been so successful because of the many thoughtful people across Virginia who've chosen to make a difference by taking the time to donate no-longer-used phones," said Tami Erwin, regional president, Verizon Wireless. "Domestic violence is an epidemic that affects one in three American women during their lifetimes. Imagine what we could do for victims if everyone in Virginia donated their no-longer-used wireless phones to Verizon Wireless' HopeLine program."
Organizations sharing in the $145,000 in Verizon Foundation and Verizon Wireless grants include the following:
- $20,000 to Norfolk's Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters to fund training for the hospital's child abuse program. Throughout the year, the staff hosts workshops for those who work with children so they better understand child abuse -- from the physical and emotional symptoms of children to the long-term effects on the entire family.
- $20,000 to Arlington's Doorways for Women and Families to expand the Red Flag campaign on two local high schools and two universities. The campaign builds awareness among young adults of the warning signs of dating violence, how to intervene as a bystander, and local resources for help.
- $15,400 to Richmond's Training and Development Corp. to develop an interactive web site to help Virginia youth 14 to 24 understand and prevent domestic violence.
- $15,000 to Newport News's Patient Advocate Foundation, Inc. to support the use of online technology to improve healthcare access on the Virginia Peninsula.
- $10,300 to the statewide Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance to expand the Red Flag campaign, the first statewide college campus education program designed to raise awareness of the warning signs of dating violence.
- $10,000 to Charlottesville's Shelter for Help in Emergency to help support construction of a new residential emergency facility.
- $9,000 to Alberta's Southside Virginia Community College to rehabilitate those young people without high school diplomas who've been convicted of first time domestic violence offenses.
- $6,000 to Virginia Beach's Communities Promoting a Safer Society (COMPASS) to provide community outreach programs and workshops to build awareness, prevention and treatment of family violence issues.
- $5,000 to Falls Church's NOVAM to support human service programs for more than 500 low-income clients annually.
- $5,000 to YWCA of Richmond to continue improvements of a playground for children living at the Y's domestic violence shelter. The playground was constructed in honor of Richmond Police Sergeant Carol Adams' mother, Orine.
- $5,000 to the University of Virginia's Women's Center to fund the Men's Leadership Program which trains male undergrads to work with boys in middle school to offset the negative social pressures and violent cultural messages they receive daily.
- $5,000 to the Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Virginia to sponsor the Domestic Violence Prevention Summit.
- $4,000 to Arlington's Just Neighbors Ministry, Inc. to provide domestic violence legal assistance for immigrants.
- $4,000 to Lynchburg's Miriam's House, Inc. to fund the Family Violence Prevention Program which helps formerly homeless women and children.
- $3,000 to Falls Church's Homestretch, Inc. for the Taking Charge program, promoting safety planning, self-defense training, financial literacy, budgeting, mentoring, wellness and domestic violence education and support.
- $3,000 to Suffolk's Genieve Shelter for victim assistance.
- $2,500 to Newport News's Just-Us-Kidz to fund a range of culturally sensitive services to battered women with disabilities and their children.
- $2,000 to Falls Church's SERAs, Inc. to fund the Diverse Medical Webpage Navigation Training Project offering accurate health information to the low-income community.
- $1,500 to Hanover Safe Place for victim assistance.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 62.1 million customers. The largest U.S. wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 67,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.