Calls to domestic violence hotline increase

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The national story of NFL player Ray Rice getting into an altercation with his significant other is having an unexpected and even potentially positive impact.

The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence says it has seen an uptick in the number of people calling the hotline for help.

"We've seen a slight increase here on just our hotline. I don't have an exact percentage for you, but nationally we're hearing numbers as high as 67 percent increases to the National Domestic Violence Hotline," said the coalition's chief operating officer, Jessye Johnson.

The huge increase in calls coming in just the last week or so is attributed to the Rice story.

While the incident itself happened months ago, there have been several developments in the last few weeks from the NFL toughening its domestic violence policy, to video of the incident surfacing, and on Wednesday new allegations that someone at the NFL saw the video months ago.

Each development keeps the topic in conversation.

"There's an increased awareness," Johnson said. "People are being made aware that there's resources available, and they're accessing them."

In other words, the headlines are helping to get the word out about help available for victims.

"Unfortunately, sometimes it takes this sort of national type of incident to bring it to light, but I think that the discussion on accountability and the moves the NFL is making are a good ... discussion to be having," she said.

Rice was released from the Ravens shortly after the video was made public.

"I think that there's opportunity here to understand that it's not a private matter. It affects an entire community," Johnson said.