Communities in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia are giving out cellular phones to victims of domestic abuse and violence. The phones have been pre-programmed to dial 911. Programs to give out cellular phones exist in Arlington and Montgomery counties, Alexandria, Williamsburg, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach, VA. Some phones were donated by local phone companies, but most were donated by county and city employees through donation drives.
Pendants with buttons that alert local authorities are also distributed to victims of domestic abuse. Although some phones and pendants have been used to prevent or stop attacks, authorities cite peace of mind as the most important factor in the new program. “This has made them feel safe and that’s a great leap forward,” said Sgt. Scott Gibson, head of the Alexandria police department’s domestic violence unit.
Domestic Violence Information Center