National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell spent three hours at the Austin, Texas, National Domestic Violence Hotline headquarters Saturday evening where he was reportedly “moved to tears” when he heard real stories of domestic violence.
"At one point he was physically moved to tears as he heard stories from our advocates about what women were encountering, that we took today," Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones told the Associated Press.
The NFL made a multi-million dollar, multi-year commitment on Sept. 19 to the Hotline and other domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, the New York Daily News reported.
Goodell said 77,000 calls to the Hotline couldn’t be responded to last year and the NFL is determined that all the calls are answered from now on.
“Recent domestic violence incidents involving NFL players pushed the capacity of our organization to unprecedented levels,” said Katie Ray-Jones, president and chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Because of this long-term commitment by the NFL to provide The Hotline with much-needed resources, our services will finally be accessible to all those who need us when they bravely take the first step to find safety and live a life free of abuse.”
“…our partnerships with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center have had immediate positive results,” Goodell wrote in a statement Friday. “The Hotline continues to experience increased call volume and our financial support has allowed it to hire an additional 10 new full-time advocates, and 10 more will be hired by the end of next week. This will allow the Hotline to answer another 600-800 calls per day.”
The Hotline was created in 1996 and receives 70 percent of its budget from the federal government. The group says one in four women and one in seven men will be the victim of physical violence during their adult lives. About 70 percent of callers have been physically abused and 95 percent have suffered emotional or verbal abuse, KXAN reported.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Mr. Usaji