AUSTIN, TEXAS – National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell visited the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) to learn more about domestic violence and to see first-hand victims’ advocates at work. Hotline management and staff members introduced Commissioner Goodell to advocates and led him on a tour of the call center that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On September 18, The Hotline announced that it had received a commitment from the NFL to provide significant resources to the organization that will help advocates answer every call, chat and text from domestic violence victims, survivors, their loved ones and even abusers for the next five years.
“We invited Commissioner Goodell and members of his staff to learn how our organization operates and to listen to some of the stories that our advocates hear every day from men and women affected by abuse. We appreciate him taking the time to help us highlight the extent of this national problem,” said Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
As a direct result of the NFL’s multi-million dollar, multi-year commitment, The Hotline has transitioned 21 of its part time employees to full time status. Jones says she expects to hire even more advocates within the next few weeks to handle an additional 750 calls, chats and texts per day. The NFL’s support will also enable loveisrespect to service 24-hour-a-day text, chat and call services to young people affected by dating abuse. Loveisrespect is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle that engages, educates and empowers young people to prevent and end abusive relationships.
Since the National Domestic Violence Hotline was first formed in 1996, the organization has never been able to answer every call for help because of a lack of resources. Last year, approximately 77,000 calls went unanswered. With greater awareness of abuse by the recent domestic violence incidents involving professional football players, more people are recognizing the signs of abuse in their own relationships and reaching out for help.
“Our call volume has remained at much higher levels than normal. Callers are reaching out to us to better understand abuse and many are seeking help that is long overdue. As awareness grows, so does the demand for our services and so does the need for more resources to serve those affected by abuse,” said Jones. “While the NFL commitment is significant and it will help us reach our goal of answering every call, we will still rely on the generosity of all of our partners and individual donors to meet the ever-increasing need for education, public awareness and additional victims’ services.”
Of those who reach out to The Hotline for help, 95% are experiencing emotional and verbal abuse including degradation, insults, humiliation, isolation, stalking, and threats of violence against themselves and their children and loved ones. Often, the abuser threatens suicide. More than 70% are experiencing severe physical violence and say they’ve been slapped, choked, punched, pistol whipped and beaten. This physical abuse has resulted in bruises, cuts, miscarriages, broken bones. Nearly 10% of those reaching out to The Hotline for help have experienced sexual violence. They’ve been raped, exploited, sexually coerced, even forced to get pregnant in order to keep them tied to their abuser.
About the National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Operating around the clock, confidential and free of cost, the Hotline provides victims and survivors with life-saving tools and immediate support. Callers to the hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in more than 200 languages. Visitors to TheHotline.org can find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources, and ways to support the organization.
The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/ Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, a division of the Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.