On Thursday evening, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams detailing the league's recent efforts to help those affected by domestic violence.
The biggest initiative is a partnership with The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline), which experienced an 84 percent spike in calls during the week of Sept. 8-15. More than half of those calls went unanswered due to lack of staff. Per Goodell, "that must not continue."
The league is "entering into long-term partnerships" with The Hotline, as well as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), in order to address "critical and immediate needs" and "provide financial, operational and promotional support" to the two organizations. The goal of the partnerships is to be able to reach out to more people affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. The Hotline's Loveisrespect project -- which seeks to empower young adults to end abusive relationships -- will also benefit from the support of the league.
The Hotline partnership will allow the organization to add 25 full-time advocates over the next few weeks in order to respond to calls. The NSVRC will use the NFL's support to provide resources "to state and local sexual assault hotlines."
The NFL will also implement educational initiatives for team and league personnel, starting with sessions presented in tandem with the NFL Players Association on domestic violence and sexual assault. Per Goodell, on Friday all teams received "comprehensive information" on domestic violence resources in local communities in order to connect with organizations "for both personnel matters and public service."
"Starting this season, we will dedicate significant resources to raise awareness on the subjects of domestic violence and sexual assault, including support for victims," Goodell said. "These are by no means final steps. We will continue to work with experts to expand and develop long-term programs that raise awareness, educate, and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault both within the NFL and in our society in general."