KENNEWICK, Wash. - Old cell phones are helping victims of domestic violence. 

CH2M Hill, a group working out of Hanford, had a bunch of used company cell phones that they did not need, so they donated them to Soroptimist International, a local group that helps women and children.

Most of the phones will eventually wind up in the hands of victims of domestic violence.  The only thing that can be dialed on the phone is 9-1-1.  The domestic violence shelter said they give out about ten of these phones a month.

With upgrades to technology many corporations quickly get rid of their company cell phones.  

Ron Nelson works for CH2M Hill and said that the company phones are, "out dated or discontinued for our purposes but they're still a valuable piece of equipment and rather than let that go to waste provide some service."

Kelly Abken is the Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Services for Benton Franklin County.  She said, "Domestic violence can be lethal and so having a way to call police to call for help is critical for all victims."

Abken said, "There's an alarming amount of victims.  Last year we provided shelter to 400 women and children and so often victims are completely isolated from friends, from family, from any other resources and if they need help they don't have anyway to contact anyone."

She said many times victims of domestic violence do not have a cell phone because the abuser uses control and isolation to manipulate them.  These phones are used as a safety tool and most of the time the abuser does not know that the victim has the phone.

Abken said, "It's that uncomfortable secret that no one really like to talk about that happens in someone else's family, but the reality is that it's happening all over the Tri-Cities. "

The domestic violence shelter said they are always collecting used cell phones.

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