Leading Companies Unite to Improve Services for Domestic Violence Survivors
Cambridge, Mass. – Three major companies – Google, Verizon through the Verizon Foundation, and Liz Claiborne Inc. – are coming together in a unique way to better serve victims of domestic violence. In partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and Jane Doe Inc., they are here as part of a nationwide initiative to promote safe technological practices.
“Technology affords domestic violence victims with greater opportunities to get help,” said Cindy Southworth, founder of NNEDV’s Safety Net project and vice president of development & innovation. “At the same time, perpetrators can misuse technology to monitor their victims’ activities and further their abusive behavior.”
NNEDV held its eighth annual seminar, August 9-12, to educate domestic violence experts from nearly every state in the country. They represent statewide coalitions against domestic and sexual violence, domestic violence shelters and other programs that provide services to survivors.
Support from Google, the Verizon Foundation and Liz Claiborne Inc. makes it possible to train domestic violence professionals and, ultimately, serve countless survivors. Based in Washington, D.C., NNEDV works closely with forward-thinking companies to inform survivors and domestic violence service programs on best practices for security and privacy.
“Google, Verizon, the Verizon Foundation and Liz Claiborne Inc. are deeply committed to enhancing victims’ safety in the digital age,” Southworth said.
Google is working to ensure that their products can’t be used by stalkers, and Google has worked with NNEDV to assist in creating user privacy and notification options for location-based services and other signature Google products. Google also reached out to NNEDV prior to launching Street View and works closely with NNEDV to make sure no local undisclosed shelter appears in Google Maps or Google Street View.
Verizon has been an acknowledged corporate leader in domestic violence awareness and prevention for 15 years. Through Verizon Wireless’ national HopeLine phone recycling program, more than 90,000 wireless phones with the equivalent of 300 million minutes of free wireless service have been distributed to survivors across the country. Additionally, through HopeLine, more than $7.9 million in cash grants have been awarded to domestic violence agencies and organizations nationwide since 1995. The Verizon Foundation helps to educate communities about domestic violence through the “Telling Amy’s Story” documentary. Also, Verizon works with NNEDV to develop greater public awareness around victim safety and technology. The company often works with NNEDV in reviewing products to make certain that they are tools to increase, not compromise, survivors’ safety.
Liz Claiborne Inc. has been sharing a teen dating violence prevention curriculum, Love Is Not Abuse, since 2006, and most recently has been investigating teens’ and tweens’ healthy uses of technology and “digital dating abuse,” which also occurs. Liz Claiborne Inc. worked with NNEDV and others to ensure that their curriculum was updated this past year to include a lesson that specifically addresses technology misuse as part of dating violence. To date, the curriculum has been distributed to over 8,000 schools and organizations across all 50 states. Love Is Not Abuse is easily accessible and provided free-of-charge at www.loveisnotabuse.com.