Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence announced May 4 that more than 100 cellphones with prepaid calls, texts and data will be made available to Delaware domestic violence survivors as the result of a public-private-nonprofit collaboration between the Delaware Department of Justice, the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence and industry donors.
“You don’t need to stay home if home isn’t safe,” said Jennings. “The tragic reality is that while home is the safest place for most of us during this pandemic, the opposite is true for victims of domestic violence or child abuse who feel trapped and silenced by their abusers. Our number one priority is saving lives, and connecting survivors with these cell phones puts a resource in their hands that can help them start to rebuild the life they deserve.”
Prepaid phones offer a measure of privacy, protection and independence to survivors who may feel economically trapped in an abusive situation because of reliance on an abuser’s phone plan. They also ensure that survivors’ activity — including calls for help — are not reflected in an abuser’s monthly cell phone plans and equip survivors with a tool as they rebuild their lives.
“DCADV is so grateful to Delaware’s Attorney General Kathy Jennings for her advocacy for victims of domestic violence,” said Sue Ryan, executive director of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “The availability of safe phones is a critical resource for connecting victims of domestic violence to supportive services.”
Phones will be distributed throughout the state to victim advocates and made available to victims as needed.
The announcement comes amid a larger set of domestic violence and child abuse awareness campaigns by nonprofits like DCADV and state agencies including the DOJ, the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families and the Delaware Courts’ Office of the Child Advocate.
Delaware’s state of emergency has not interrupted the availability of resources for survivors, including protection from abuse court orders; shelter, hotels or other emergency housing; advocates and attorneys to assist petitioners through the Family Court process; and social workers and counselors in a variety of different agencies.
The following 24-hour hotlines are also available: New Castle County, 762-6110; Kent and Sussex counties, 422-8058; and Spanish/Español, 745-9874.
A complete listing of services is available at dcadv.org. Information on protections through the courts are available at courts.delaware.gov/family or 255-0300. Police-based victim service staff are also available to address the needs of crime victims.
For more, visit dsp.delaware.gov/victim-services.