In the holiday spirit, the county legislature has given the gift of communication to battered women and children.
Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, sponsored a resolution authorizing the transfer of eight surplus BlackBerry cellphones that were decommissioned, accessories and other telephone devices to The Retreat, a domestic violence advocacy group based in East Hampton.
The legislation was unanimously approved at the Suffolk County Legislature’s general meeting on Nov. 20. This is the second year the county has given surplus phones to the The Retreat.
“The phones will be provided to clients for use in case of an emergency,” Schneiderman said in a statement issued Monday.
"We applaud Legislator Schneiderman's efforts of ensuring that victims of domestic violence have the resource to call 911 in the mist of a domestic crisis," said Jeffrey Friedman, the executive director of the The Retreat, said on Monday. "More often than not abusive individuals tightly control the use of a victim's cell phone and track their every movement through these devises. This initiative will ensure a victim who has just escaped a volatile situation the ability to call 911, and ensure that the phone that they are using will not disclose their location."
The Retreat, which provides safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse, provides help for thousands of families each year.
The organization also runs a hotline with highly trained staff to answer calls for help 24 hours a day seven days a week at 631-329-2200.