Old Phones Equal New Hope


by Tracy

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey
conducted by the CDC, about 20 people per minute are victims of intimate partner
violence in the United States. This equals more than 10 million women and men
who have been impacted by domestic violence over the course of a year.

To put this more in perspective, domestic violence affects nearly 1 in 4
women, 1 in 9 men and more than 3 million children in the United States. These
numbers underscore the need for domestic violence support services, prevention
programs, and help for the victims.

Update: The Hopeline program was discontinued in 2018. Over the course of the program, thousands of phones were provided to domestic violence survivors. Verizon still supports the #Hope feature. Verizon customers who dial #Hope will automatically be connected with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Below is a historical overview of the program.

Project Hopeline from Verizon

HopeLine® from Verizon was a project that supported numerous domestic violence
programs and the people they serve. By collecting previously owned cell phones,
batteries, and accessories, they refurbished and recycled the devices,
keeping them out of landfills. Proceeds were then used to fund local shelters and
provide resources to help boost awareness of domestic violence and provide
resources for prevention and victim recovery.

Why Domestic Violence Victims Need Phones

Having a cell phone can be a lifeline for victims of domestic violence. It enables them to contact friends and family, keep in touch with shelter and support services, and call 911 if necessary. To make this possible, the Hopeline program distributed cell phones through local shelters, law-enforcement agencies, and social service agencies for use with their domestic violence clients.

In fact, they provided more than 180,000 phones to domestic violence victims and survivors from 2001 to 2014 (the program stopped providing phones on February 20, 2018). These phones came with 3000 anytime minutes of wireless service, along with text-messaging. Even though the program is no longer active, you can still call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for additional support and help.

How the Hopeline Program Worked

Hopeline didn’t accept monetary donations, but rather recycled old phones. Money from refurbished phones provided grants to various domestic violence programs. In fact, Verizon granted more than $20 million to various organizations supporting survivors of domestic violence through the years.

And over 180,000 phones were also donated to survivors of domestic during the course of the program. These phones gave survivors a way to connect to the outside world which was beyond the control of their abuser. 

Verizon made donating phones easy. People were able to bring their old cell phones, batteries and accessories to their local
Verizon store and drop them in the collection bins. They could also mail these
items in by printing a postage-paid mailing label from Verizon. It didn’t
matter if the phone was from a different provider. Even if it was broken; the
parts could be recycled in an environmentally sound way and used to generate funds
for the program. 

People were also able to sponsor a phone drive in their community to collect used phones.
Their support helped continue to put cell phones in the hands of domestic
violence victims and boost resources and awareness of domestic violence. 

Hopeline was a long-term effort

For those skeptical about the motivation behind the program, rest assured this wasn’t a publicity stunt by Verizon. HopeLine has been an ongoing project since 1995 when the company was called Bell Atlantic Mobile. Back then, the program donated wireless phones for domestic violence victims and voicemail boxes for women living in shelters.

Since 2001, Verizon donated hundreds of thousands of phones to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. They also donated over $21 million in cash grants to various domestic violence organizations and collected over 10.8 million phones to be refurbished or recycled. It was a win-win situation for the environment and victims of domestic violence. 

We’re sad to see the end of the program and hope another cell phone provider decides to do something similar.

If you are in an abusive relationship, these articles can help:

  1. Divorce

  2. Abusive Relationships

  3. Hopeline Program

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