A phone is something many of us take for granted. However, to victims and survivors of domestic violence, a phone serves as their only connection to support and services to help break the cycle. Cell phones often are a target during the escalation of domestic violence, and unfortunately, cost is often a limiting factor in victim and survivor access to phones when a new one is needed.
To help provide this lifeline to those in need, employees at the Living Legacy Foundation donated 26 iPhones to The Bridge Program at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
The Bridge Program is a domestic violence intervention program that operates 24/7. Clinical team members across Shock Trauma, UMMC, and the campus of University of Maryland, Baltimore screen every incoming patient for domestic violence. If someone is flagged, the Bridge Program hotline is called and a case manager will appear at the bedside within an hour. The Bridge Program then helps each client over time by providing assessment, crisis intervention, advocacy, education and counseling along with linking patients to the best resources in his or her community.
Oftentimes, clients of the Bridge Program will also use pay as you go phones, which are often thrown away after the minutes are used up. This presents a problem for the Bridge Program team when trying to contact the client to assist and follow up.
“For our domestic violence survivors, their phones serve as a lifeline to everything that’s important to them,” Ann Myers, RN, Program Coordinator, said. “Anything, like these iPhones, that help us connect to our survivors goes a very long way towards helping more survivors.”
In FY2017, the Bridge Program assisted 368 domestic violence survivors.
For more information or to contact the Bridge Program, please call 410-328-9833.