Free Cell Phones For Domestic Violence Program

Wednesday, October 20th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Free cellular phones will provide a lifeline for victims of domestic violence who need to call for help. U-S Cellular donated 125 wireless phones to Tulsa’s Domestic Violence Intervention Services Wednesday.

Police say 75 per cent of the women who die during domestic violence are killed when trying to leave the relationship. "Sadly, domestic violence continues to be one of the state's and nation's worst social problems," said U-S Cellular’s Mike Kelly.

Oklahoma reported 16,995 domestic assaults last year. 55 of those cases ended as homicides. That's why counselors and shelters say cell phones are so important. They allow victims to call for help day or night, wherever they are. Marcia Smith with the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence says the cell phones are a comfort to domestic violence victims. "Not only is the victim protected physically, she has the peace of mind to know she has assistance within very easy reach," she said.

Smith says domestic violence victims often struggle to start a new life because the abuser follows them, harasses them, ruins their chances for a worry-free, abuse-free existence. "By having a phone in her hand, she can now feel safe to go about the business of raising her children. Safe in going to work or going to college so that she might better her circumstances in life."

Victim advocates say it would be impossible to put a price tag on the sense of security and mobility that comes with these phones. A-T and T Wireless also donated 50 phones. Every wireless provider in Tulsa has given free phones to the program.