A public service announcement raising awareness of domestic violence aired during the American show Thursday Night Football yesterday. More than two dozen NFL players came forward to participate in the NO MORE campaign against domestic violence.
This action was taken following public scrutiny of the NFL that came with their handling of the player Ray Rice earlier this year. Ray, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was caught on camera in February at an Atlantic City casino dragging his unconscious fiancée from an elevator after he had punched her in the face.
When the assault was first reported the NFL suspended Rice for only two games. After the video footage was released Rice was suspended indefinitely by the league. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell was heavily criticised for his initial more lenient approach to the Rice scandal. It appears that whilst the NFL is not responsible for the production of the NO MORE campaign, they did fund the air time for the announcement last night.
The NFL comes to us this Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons host the Detroit Lions at Wembley.
Domestic violence seems prevalent in sport and it is something that we here in Britain have had to tackle too.
Earlier this year we saw England exiting the football World Cup at a very early stage. Following the 2010 World Cup, information released under the Freedom on Information Act by police forces showed that domestic violence increased by 29% when England lost in 2010. It is for this reason that this year forces across Britain launched hard hitting poster campaigns against domestic violence, prior to the World Cup commencing. Following England’s defeats a 40 second dramatic video was aired of a woman anxiously watching the team compete in the World Cup. The video was entitled ‘No one wanted England to win more than women’.
Two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner. The average woman is assaulted 35 times before she will make her first call to the police. Men can equally be victims of domestic violence. Among separated couples 21% of women were victims of domestic violence whilst the figure for male victims is 11%.
There are protective injunctions that can be obtained for victims of domestic violence, such as a Non Molestation Order. Despite changes to legal aid here in England and Wales, legal aid remains available to protect against domestic violence.