Election Section

SF uses cell phones to combat domestic violence

Daily Planet Wire Service
Friday October 04, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco officials said Thursday they will work with a wireless telephone company to raise both awareness and cash for domestic violence victims, as well as hundreds of cell phones for their use. 

Mayor Willie Brown joined representatives of Verizon Wireless to describe the plan, which calls for the New Jersey-based company to donate 200 wireless phones with voicemail and prepaid minutes of calling time to the city's Commission and Department on the Status of Women. The local group will distribute the equipment to shelters. 

Through its HopeLine program, begun last year, Verizon collects used phones and refurbishes or sells them to help end the cycle of domestic violence. Any proceeds either go to victims or the agencies dedicated to helping them. 

Verizon representatives said they are also giving $40,000 to fund a public service announcement campaign on cable television in the city and place posters in buses for a month, as well as publish a resource guide for abuse victims. 

The program also calls for a direct mail campaign in late October to local companies to let people know the problem of domestic violence affects many employees and employers and includes a drive to collect old cell phones from city employees. 

"Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects women of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds,'' the mayor said. "We, as San Francisco's family of city departments, nonprofit agencies and businesses, need to come together to raise awareness about this issue and work towards the eradication of domestic violence in all our communities.'' 

San Francisco's Environment Department is also getting involved in the partnership by working with Verizon to recycle phones in a way that keeps hazardous waste out of the city landfill.