Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Women’s Bar Foundation of Massachusetts
WBA AND WBF SIGN ON TO LETTER TO NFL REGARDING THE NFL’S TREATMENT OF PLAYERS WHO PERPETRATE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
BOSTON, MA – September 29, 2014 - The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) and the Women’s Bar Foundation of Massachusetts (WBF) joined hundreds of other domestic violence prevention organizations in a letter to the National Football League (NFL) condemning the tolerance shown for NFL players who perpetrate domestic violence and asking the NFL to take specific measures to reduce incidents of domestic violence. The letter, addressed to Commissioner Goodell, acknowledges his recent actions to fund the National Domestic Violence Hotline and rape crisis lines in response to the spate of incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault by NFL players. However, the letter calls upon him to do more--including the following:
•Begin a comprehensive media effort. Take the opportunity to reach millions of fans at every game to create awareness and shift attitudes to encourage healthy and safe communities for all its players, their families and their fans.
•Engage players and leverage popular culture influencers. Create an initiative that engages players in demonstrating their commitment to respecting girls and women and ending violence against them and promoting healthy masculinity. Leverage popular culture influencers associated with the NFL to speak out against abuse and rape and promote healthy relationships for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, class, or ability and safe, thriving communities.
•Invest in prevention. Invest heavily in, and support, national, state, and local community engagement programming.
•Model leadership .Be a model for other professional sports leagues by encouraging owners of leagues to build meaningful relationships with state and tribal domestic and sexual violence coalitions and community programs to develop and implement comprehensive prevention programs and provide funds for the increased demand in intervention and response services.
“The NFL wields tremendous influence. By partnering with state and local domestic violence and sexual assault community programs, it evidences a commitment to make real change, not just minimize the bad publicity of a scandal, ” said Kara Deltufo, WBA President.
The letter also asks Commission Goodell to include African American men and women in his group of domestic violence advisors and to develop a strong but humane policy regarding players who break NFL rules and commit domestic violence. The letter also calls on the NFL to conduct ongoing trainings, not just for rookies, but for the entire NFL on domestic violence.
In 2014, the WBA supported domestic violence legislation which requires trainings, informed by best practices, for judges, court personnel, and law enforcement officials. The WBF offers trainings on domestic violence to all of its volunteer attorneys when they take cases through the Family Law Project for Battered Women. The next training is October 22 and October 23, 2014.
About the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Founded in 1978 by a group of activist women lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts (WBA) boasts a vast membership of accomplished women lawyers, judges, and law students across Massachusetts. The WBA is committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA works to achieve this mission through committees and taskforces and by developing and promoting a legislative agenda to address society’s most critical social and legal issues. Other WBA activities include drafting amicus briefs, studying employment issues affecting women, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, recognizing the achievement of women in the law, and providing pro bono services to women in need through supporting its charitable sister organization, the Women’s Bar Foundation. For more information, visit www.womensbar.org.
About the Women’s Bar Foundation of Massachusetts
The Women's Bar Foundation of Massachusetts (WBF) is a 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1993 to be the charitable and educational affiliate of our sister organization, the Women's Bar Association (WBA). The WBF works to establish an equitable legal system, to promote social and economic equity for women, and to meet the legal needs of women and their children by providing pro bono legal services. The WBF directs five pro bono programs including the Family Law Project for Battered Women, the Elder Law Project, the Women's Lunch Place Project, the Framingham Project for Incarcerated Women, the Hampden County Housing Court Project.
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