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Lt. Governor Simon: donate old cellphones to domestic violence survivors 

 
Verizon to donate up to $10,000 to prevention organizations

SPRINGFIELD - October 3, 2011. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is teaming up with Verizon Wireless to collect old cell phones and raise money for domestic violence prevention organizations in Springfield and Chicago.

Simon is asking state workers and residents to bring their no-longer-used cell phones, batteries and accessories to the HopeLine phone drive today through Friday at the State Capitol and Stratton and Howlett buildings in Springfield and the James R. Thompson Center atrium in Chicago.

For every phone dropped into a HopeLine donation box in the statehouse rotunda or Stratton building this week, Verizon will donate $10 to Springfield’s Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence to help fund a new virtual legal clinic for survivors of domestic abuse.

Every phone dropped into a donation box at the ground floor of the Thompson Center will mean $10 for the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, which is earmarking the funds for its Domestic Violence Court Watch Project.

“Domestic violence is a crime that affects families across our state. We must do everything we can to raise awareness and empower victims to protect themselves. Healthy relationships are the basis for healthy families and communities,” said Simon, a former Jackson County prosecutor and founder of a domestic violence legal clinic at Southern Illinois University School of Law.            

Most of the donated phones will be refurbished or sold with the proceeds used to purchase newer wireless phones for domestic violence survivors. Phones that can’t be refurbished will be recycled in an environmentally sound way.            

“These donated phones are a lifeline to victims of domestic violence with no other resources,” said Vickie Smith, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which represents domestic violence victims services agencies throughout the state.

Domestic violence occurs when one person causes physical or psychological harm to a current or former intimate partner. It includes all acts of violence within the context of family or intimate relationships, and is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 brought more government attention and services to victims and survivors. State law requires police officers to take steps to protect a victim of domestic abuse whenever a family or household member has committed any act of abuse.

“This initiative is a great example of how members of the community can work along with public and private entities to make a difference in the lives of those surviving domestic violence,” said Dawn Dalton, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network.

Since 1980, The Network has served the needs of domestic violence survivors throughout the Chicagoland area. The Network’s chain of membership organizations has played a vital role in ending society’s tolerance of domestic violence through advocacy, education, and outreach.

Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million wireless phones, awarded more than $10 million in cash grants to domestic violence organizations throughout the country and by the end of this year, will have donated more than 106,000 HopeLine phones with 319 million minutes of airtime to victims, survivors and domestic violence organizations.

Last year in Illinois alone, more than 36,000 phones were donated to the program, totaling more than 4.5 million minutes of service and more than $100,000 in cash grants to help survivors of domestic violence across the state.

Those unable to visit the Thompson Center, State Capitol, Stratton or Howlett buildings during the week of October 3 can still donate their no-longer-used phones at any Verizon Wireless Communications Store at any time. To find the store closest to you, visit www.verizonwireless.com.