On Friday, the National Football League (NFL) announced their commitment to multi-year funding to help state and local programs serve survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The funding will be shared between the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), who will direct support to state coalitions.
In addition to funding, the NFL is committing to host violence prevention education sessions for all 32 NFL teams. Players, coaches, staff, and executives will receive education about domestic and sexual violence as well as information about resources and organizations in their own communities.
Recent media coverage regarding sexual and domestic violence among NFL players, like any major media coverage of violence, has contributed to an increased volume of calls to local and national hotlines. After seeing media coverage and commentary, some people may recognize patterns of abuse in their own lives, or they may be encouraged to seek help for the first time. Other survivors may be triggered by media coverage and feel the need for emotional support after hearing or seeing details of violence or other related issues, such as victim blaming.
“As it stands, rape crisis centers are woefully underfunded to meet the needs of sexual assault survivors. Whenever high profile cases are in the media, the demand for services increases. We appreciate that the NFL is beginning a process of responding to the very real needs of survivors in every community,” said Monika Johnson Hostler, Executive Director of the NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA). Johnson-Hostler added, “NCCASA will utilize the support to work with the 90 plus rape crisis centers across North Carolina who work hard each day to provide needed services to survivors of sexual assault.”
Though the amount of funding is undetermined at this point, it is exciting and encouraging that the NFL is taking this first step to addressing and preventing violence.