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A mobile phone is a lifeline for victims of domestic violence, yet it’s often the first item to be destroyed to prevent the victim seeking help. A Mooloolaba man is calling on the community to donate their old, unused mobile phones and help save lives.

In the lead-up to Christmas, a local initiative helping victims of domestic violence is calling for people to donate their old mobile phones.

DV Safe Phone encourages people to dig unused mobile phones out of their bottom drawers and into the hands of domestic violence victims.

The initiative launched in April when Mooloolaba man Ashton Wood found old mobiles during a COVID-inspired house clean after travel for his business IC3 solutions ceased.

“I found that I had some spare time on my hands, which was usually spent going to airports and waiting for planes,” Mr Wood says.

“My partner and I did a clean-up at home – we filled the car with items to donate to charity.

“That night, in early April 2020, it was announced that all retail shops were shutting down, due to COVID-19 lockdowns, so we had a car-load of items to take to charity and no place to take it.”

Unsure what to do, Mr Wood called Janine Lee from Domestic Violence Business Solutions to see if she knew of any drop-off points.

“Janine told me that domestic violence victims in Australia are in desperate need of working mobile phones right now,” he says.“When I offered up my spare phone, Janine said ‘Ashton, your old phone may save a life’.”

Realising there was an opportunity to expand this idea, Mr Wood began DV Safe Phone, engaging local company King IT as a drop-off point and to test donated phones.

Mr Wood was then put in touch with Betty Taylor from the Red Rose Foundation, a charity working to end domestic and family violence related deaths in Australia.

“[They receive] all the phones from us, and ensure they get to victims of domestic violence either directly, or though some of the many agencies they already deal with.”

“To-date we’ve collected just over 1000 phones and Red Rose Foundation have ensured over 450 victims of domestic violence now have a phone to use in
an emergency.”

“The mobile phone is often one of the first items to be thrown, broken or stolen during domestic violence, leaving the victim cut off from the outside world, with no way to call emergency services or helplines for assistance.

“It is well known that domestic violence can increase by up to 20 per cent through the Christmas period. Add to this the additional strain and increased domestic violence through COVID-19 and we have a perfect storm for a major increase in domestic violence and abuse through this 2020 Christmas period.

“It’s such a simple idea with such a powerful outcome. Your old phone could save a life.”

Locals can donate their old, erased, working phone and charging cord to any King It store or Jeep dealership, or they can be posted to PO Box 1440 Mooloolaba QLD 4557.

Visit dvsafephone.org or redrosefoundation.com.au.

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