New NFL domestic violence policy serves as reminder of widespread problem

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TEXOMA -- National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell recently instated new sanctions for NFL players and staff who engage in domestic violence. Area crisis centers say the new policies serve as a reminder that domestic violence and sexual assault are serious and widespread issues.

Goodell announced that all NFL employees who violate the policy will receive a six-week ban without pay. Repeat offenders will be banned from the league for life, with an opportunity to apply for reinstatement after one year.

"It's not just an NFL problem, it's a national problem, and we have to address it nationally," Anna Marcy, an advocate at the Crisis Control Center, Inc. in Durant, Okla.

Statistics from Safe Horizon suggest that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And each year, 3 million children will witness domestic violence happen in their home.

And Texoma is no exception to that.

The center in Durant serves 400 women and children each year, according to Marcy.

Further south in Grayson County, the Crisis Center sees between 600 and 800 victims each year.

And that only accounts for the victims that come forward.

Marcy said the NFL's new policy on players and staff involved in domestic violence sets a good example.

"I think increasing offender accountability in any form or fashion is the appropriate step forward," she said.

At the Crisis Center in Grayson County, "I really stand behind the n-fl taking this stand," Executive director Rachel Morgan said.

Morgan said the NFL policy reflects the crisis center's approach, because in addition to the sanctions, rookie and seasoned staff will go through educational programs on domestic violence.

"I really applaud them for looking at the bigger picture, not just talking punitive," Morgan said.

The Crisis Center in Grayson County offers a Batterers Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPP), which are typically court ordered after a conviction.

In Texas and Oklahoma, domestic violence crimes are usually classified as misdemeanors, but can be classified as a felony depending on the circumstances.

If you'd like to reach out to the either crisis center for help or to volunteer, here's how to get in touch:

Crisis Center (Sherman, Grayson County): 903.893.3909
Crisis Control Center, Inc. (Durant, Bryan County): 580.924.3030