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Donating old phones could help domestic violence victims

In emergency situations, domestic violence victims can utilize old phones to get help.
Credit: Adriana Alexander

SAN ANGELO, Texas — You know that old phone you used years ago that’s laying around uselessly in your drawer?

Well, that same phone could be put to use for men and women in need, no matter how old it is.

During this National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, West Texas shelters and crisis centers want people to know what they can do to help victims of domestic violence in times of need. 

The Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Unit, as well as the Family Shelter of San Angelo, accept unused cell phones to give to domestic violence victims in need of a means of communication. 

“A lot of times when victims are trying to leave a situation or trying to call the police to escape, perpetrators are breaking their phones so they can’t get away. We call these phones 9-1-1 phones,” Roxann Sloan, TGC CIU, explained.

As long as these 9-1-1 phones are fully charged, they are fully capable of calling 9-1-1 in an emergency for victims. 

Sloan recommends victims who possess these emergency phones to put them in a safe and well-hidden place if they happen to be in a dangerous situation. 

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

This is why the Family Shelter of San Angelo has been active since 1979 - to house victims of domestic or family violence and provide them with the assistance they need. 

In addition to accepting old cell phones, the shelter has a wish list which includes food and cleaning item donations to help patrons live comfortably. As of Tuesday, the shelter has 32 adults and children, so anything helps. 

“Domestic violence affects not only the adults involved but also the children. We want to always be able to provide that support they need and help any way we can. That’s why we’re here,” Family Shelter of San Angelo Program Director Valerie J. Tillery said. 

To donate any old cell phones you’re not using, take them to the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office or the CIU any time during business hours.