Since the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiance Janay Palmer Rice surfaced, the number of calls for domestic violence services in Connecticut has increased.
Karen Jarmoc, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said Monday that calls to the domestic violence hotline have increased by a third and the number of women requesting services has increased.
“All 237 of our beds in Connecticut were full last Friday night,” she said. “We’ve seen a significant increase in hotline calls.”
This is in addition to a 16 percent increase in the number of victims being sheltered in Connecticut in the past four years. Sixty-nine percent of them are spending longer periods of time in shelters as well, Jarmoc said.
Jarmoc also noted that CCADV operates at 95- to 98-percent capacity on average, but that they have multiple resources they can offer to victims even when their shelters are full.
At a Capitol press conference Monday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called for increases in federal funding to domestic violence groups, stronger criminal laws on domestic violence, and a sustained financial commitment from the NFL to supporting domestic violence prevention groups.
At the press conference, Jarmoc applauded an increase in Family Violence Prevention and Services Act funding.
The act, known as FVPSA, is the largest source of funding for emergency services for domestic violence victims, although it’s currently not fully funded.
CCADV received $1.3 million this past year from that federal legislation.
Blumenthal said when he returns to Washington he will urge his congressional colleagues and the NFL to take up the issue of funding for domestic violence services.
“The NFL can provide a model as an institution. It can use some of the tens of millions of dollars that it takes from fans to help those fans who may be victims of domestic violence,” he said. “I’m going to hold the NFL accountable, as will many of my colleagues as they’ve indicated to me privately and publicly over the last few days.”
Blumenthal and Jarmoc were at odds over NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s role in the scandal. Jarmoc said that she supported him retaining his position because he had admitted his mistake and was willing to fix it.
“No one is more well positioned at this point to make a difference. He has a vested interested in getting it right now,” she said.
Jarmoc said that the NFL worked with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to draft the league’s new rules for dealing with players accused of domestic violence.
Blumenthal said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Goodell should resign if he had seen the Ray Rice video prior to it being posted by TMZ last Monday. He did not comment on Goodell at Monday’s press conference.