Verizon kicks off social effort to help prevent domestic violence

The Because Voices Have Power campaign asks people to submit messages of hope to domestic violence victims and survivors.

NEW YORK: Verizon Wireless has launched a new phase of its HopeLine domestic violence prevention program on social media to encourage more people to join the cause.

The Because Voices Have Power campaign asks people to submit messages of hope to domestic violence victims and survivors by using the hashtag #VoicesHavePower on social media, texting the number #94079, or visiting voiceshavepower.com.

For each message, Verizon will donate three dollars to its national and local domestic violence prevention partners, such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Women Against Abuse in Philadelphia.

Verizon had looked for ways to take HopeLine to the next level for a while, said Cameka Crawford, manager of multicultural communications and community relations. After conducting surveys and talking to domestic violence prevention advocates and influencers, the company created the concept for the social media campaign, she explained.

"All of the conversations were telling us that while we have a lot of support, we really had an opportunity to leverage digital and social media to help get the domestic violence prevention messaging out to an even broader audience," Crawford said.

Verizon wants people to get involved and share a message to "help provide a voice to a group of individuals who may not feel like they have one" and to empower survivors, Crawford said.

The goal is to receive 100,000 messages, which would earn $300,000 for the campaign partners, she added.

Verizon, which has supported domestic violence prevention for nearly 20 years, has teamed up with cause agency Sew to help promote and develop strategies for the effort. Crawford declined to offer further details on the relationship or contract with Sew.

To get the word out about the campaign, Verizon is reaching out to traditional media outlets and social media influencers. It is also partnering with TakePart.com and DoSomething.org.

The campaign, which could last for multiple years, has a message screening process in place to prevent derogatory or negative posts from appearing, Crawford said.

"While we want people to use their voices, another thing we have to look at when we’re doing any type of work in domestic violence prevention is privacy and protecting victims and survivors," she explained.

Over the last 13 years, Verizon has donated more than $21.4 million in cash grants and has provided more than 180,000 phones to domestic violence organizations in the US, according to a company statement.

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