Domestic Abuse and The World Cup

The world cup is the most anticipated and widely watched sporting event in the world, however, the world cup has a dark side.

Whilst everyone is enjoying watching the World Cup over summer, drinking and hanging out with friends and family to some this can be a terribly sinister and terrifying time. Footballing events are notorious for their loud fans and enthusiastic viewers. Unsurprisingly with many attendees and viewers drinking and fans heightened emotions particularly when their team loses this may lead to increased rates of domestic abuse.

Alcohol and domestic abuse overlap, there is a strong correlation between the misuse of alcohol and violence. Since alcohol reduces your inhibitions and increases agression it is perhaps unsurprising that during sporting events where fans enjoy drinking and supporting their teams emotions are heightened and aggression increases. And in England and Wales, alcohol is thought to play a part in approximately 1.2 million violent incidents.

Whilst sport itself isn’t said to cause violence, the misogynistic and sexist attitudes of abuser who exert power, dominance and control over their victims perpetrate the violent abuse. Sexist attitudes, chants and behaviour at football matches encourage an environment in which women are susceptible to being abused.

 “Alcohol consumption and frustration over a team losing a football match are never an excuse for abusive behaviour.” Sarah Hill, CEO of IDAS

The charity Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. The charity estimates that around 1.2 million women experienced domestic abuse in 2017, with around an estimated 700,000 male domestic abuse victims.

Reports have indicated that for a number of years, British organisations have seen an increase in domestic violence after England’s World Cup matches, on a day England lost during the 2010 World Cup it found a 32% rise in domestic violence incidents.  A study by Lancaster University found that police received 26% more callouts following an England victory or draw- and near 38% following a defeat. England is not the only country battling increasing domestic abuse incidents, countries such as Mexico and Colombia are also.

‘While the World Cup is a source of sporting celebration, we also know the tournament leads to an increase in both alcohol-related violence and domestic abuse.’  Chief Inspector Mike Haines, of Hampshire Police.

If you are or know someone who may be a victim of domestic abuse, it is important that you protect yourself and know how that there are a number of legal routes to aid protection. In the event of any abuse or danger it is important that the police are the first port of call, criminal charges may be applied and/or a Restraining Order can then be made to reduce contact between the parties. Other options may include the Family Court granting a Non-Molestation and Occupation Order where there are no criminal charges or an investigation is pending.

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Non-Molestation orders are a type of injunction made under The Family law Act 1996, their aim to protect victims of domestic abuse from being abused. They are normally for a specified period of time and are renewable. If you or someone you know is in danger, you should consult a Family Solicitor for advice.

Occupation Orders are order which will affects your rights and the rights of your partner/ex partner to the home in which you live in or lived in together. Again you should consult a Family Solicitor for advice.

Cleveland Police force reported that during the last world cup, 897 domestic incidents were reported to them.

In response to the surge in domestic abuse incidents and reports, the police have pledged to support the Give Domestic Abuse the Red Card campaign. The campaign aims to protect victims of domestic abuse and warn potential abusers of the consequences of their behaviour. A similar campaign Operation Ribbon aims to provide support to potential victims whilst warning potential abusers of the consequences of their actions.

Most importantly, don’t let abusers get away with their behaviour, domestic abuse is never right. If you or someone you know is in danger, you can contact the police in an emergency on 999 or 101 or contact the The National Domestic Violence Freephone open 24 hours on 0808 2000 247.

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