At a time when the federal program that supports the National Domestic Violence Hotline is providing a “modest increase” in funding after a reduction in funds three years ago, the NFL will provide what the hotline describes as “significant resources” for domestic violence programs.
According to a press release issued by the hotline, the resources given by the NFL “will allow the organization to answer virtually every call, chat and text from domestic violence victims, survivors, their loved ones and even abusers for the next five years.”
Over the next few weeks, the hotline will place 25 additional full-time advocates, which means an additional 750 calls will be answered each day. That almost doubles the number of staff available to speak with victims.
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The hotline relies substantially on federal funding in the form of a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Family Violence Prevention and Services Program. Recently, sequestration of the budget, as enacted in 2011, cut $20 million in funding allocated for programs that address domestic violence and sexual assault between 2013 and 2014. On October 1 of this year, the federal program that helps to fund the hotline will receive, through 2014 appropriations, what the National Network to End Domestic Violence calls a “modest increase” in funding after the “significant cuts” imposed by sequestration. It is not yet known how much that funding will be.
In 2013, more than one in five attempted contacts were not completed due to a lack of resources; the hotline received a total of 331,078 calls, chats, and texts, and 77,484 were left unanswered.
The hotline’s CEO, Katie Ray-Jones, told Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post that calls to the hotline were up 84 percent in the two days following the September 8 video release of former Ravens player Ray Rice hitting his now wife, Janay Rice.
The hotline reported in its recent press release that nearly two weeks later call volume “has remained higher than normal with spikes happening after each new report about domestic violence charges against NFL players,” and that increased volume meant nearly half of those incoming calls, chats, and texts were left unanswered.