Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA — In an emergency, any charged up cell phone — connected or not to a service provider and cell phone plan — can be used to dial 911.

But if you’re in an abusive relationship — and a shared phone is broken or you can’t or are denied access to it — it’s good to have a back-up plan.

During COVID as relationships became strained, local victim service agencies discovered a need for used cell phones for their safety planning programs.

Victim services accepts new and used, donated cell phones to support victims and vulnerable persons within their communities.

The OPP’s 911 cell phone program is designed to lessen re-victimization, by providing an additional device to contact police in an emergency.

They say home sometimes isn’t the safest place, and this can be the case for adults and children who suffer from intimate partner abuse, sexual violence and elder abuse, among others.

If a landline or cell phone is damaged by the abuser, a 911 cell phone may be a victims’ only way to seek help.

The Bracebridge and Huntsville OPP Detachments will be collecting cell phones, which will directly benefit our Muskoka Victim Services.

For more information, visit Muskoka Victim Services

Starting Monday, Nov., 23, to donate your cell phone, take your gently used cell phones to either Bracebridge or Huntsville OPP detachments between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Or to donate a phone to the Victim Service Phone Safety Program through the detachment drop off box, please complete the following:

  • Remove your SIM card.
  • Bring cellphone AND charger (if possible)
  • Please use disinfectant wipes (provided at detachment); all phones and chargers must be wiped down at the detachment prior to going into the box
  • Place in clear Ziploc bag for your phone and charger (provided at detachment)
  • Please provide the name of the cellphone carrier OR identify if the phone is unlocked (note attached to phone is fine).

Det. Sgt. Tanya Tremble, abuse issues and mental health coordinator, Central Region, OPP, says it’s “a great opportunity for the community to help vulnerable victims.

“You may be helping a neighbour without even knowing because unfortunately we aren’t aware of what occurs behind closed doors. Even though a cell phone is no longer connected to a plan, as long as it has a charged battery it can still dial 911.”

Clockwise top left: Eva Zachary, executive director Muskoka Victim Services; Huntsville interim detachment commander A/S/Sgt. Michael Pigeau; Det. Sgt. Tanya Tremble and Bracebridge detachment commander Insp. Mike Burton and Const. Taryn Molnar.



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(Photo attached- Zoom meeting between OPP and Muskoka Victim Services- Top left: Eva Zachary, Executive Director Muskoka Victim Services, Bottom left: Bracebridge Detachment Commander Inspector Mike Burton, Provincial Constable Taryn Molnar, Top right: Huntsville Interim Detachment Commander A/S/Sgt. Michael Pigeau, D/Sgt. Tanya Tremble)