CFL announces details to new policy on violence against women

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Jeffrey Orridge, CFL commissioner
Jeffrey Orridge, CFL commissioner

VANCOUVER – The CFL announced the details of their official policy on violence against women in a news conference Thursday afternoon at B.C. Place.

Working in close conjunction with multiple Canadian organizations making efforts to end domestic violence and seeking input from government officials, the league has established written guidelines to assess and deal with potential domestic violence issues after close to a year of preparation.

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"The CFL condemns violence against women in all its forms: domestic violence, sexual assault, verbal use, and the disrespectful and damaging attitude that can form the foundation of violence" said CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge. "This policy is designed to ensure all of us in the CFL do our part to educate for change, and support behaviour when we do encounter violence or the attitude that can lead to it."

The policy applies to players and extends to all CFL employees including coaches, officials, executives, and staff. It's important to note that the set process the league will follow to investigate incidents of reported violence defers to the judicial system and police. Penalties for confirmed acts of violence against women range from fines to suspensions to a lifetime ban from the CFL, depending on the severity of the incident and the reputation of the offender.

There is an emphasis on prevention and education. Everyone involved with the league will receive mandatory annual training on the issues at hand and counselling will be readily available. Programs like the B.C. Lions' "Be More Than a Bystander" campaign will continue to be a significant part of the aim to raise awareness moving forward.

"The leadership being shown today by the entire CFL is to be applauded profoundly," said Tracy Porteous, the Chair of Ending Violence Association of Canada and a voice the CFL leaned on extensively while putting forth this policy. "Violence against women has long thrived in the shadows, so when organizations, especially those led by men, step forward to ask 'what can we do to break the silence?' it shines an important light on a subject most people don't know what to do with it. Through this policy the CFL is changing history."

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Israel Fehr is a writer for Yahoo Canada Sports. Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter.

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