It’s 2018 and England have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. While most of us will be backing an England win on Wednesday, through every moment of togetherness and excitement, when England wins, there is a counterpoint of trouble.
Research into the link between domestic abuse and football has shown that reports of domestic abuse increase when the England team play a football match, win or lose.
Lancaster University conducted research in 2014 analysing domestic violence figures from the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. It found that domestic abuse in Lancashire rose by 38% on the days when England lost and 26% when the team won or drew a match. Furthermore, domestic abuse was 11% higher the day after an England match.
The Women’s Aid campaign ‘Football United Against Domestic Violence’ is pushing for our nation to stand united against domestic abuse during the World Cup.
Whilst the country celebrates to the tune of ‘football’s coming home’ there is a potential for a volatile mix of drink, drugs, gambling and heightened emotions never mind the whole issue around competitiveness and testosterone levels.
Most people will watch the game and will never do anything violent. However, a small minority will become deeply aggressive and unpleasant. Subsequently, police forces across the country are on high alert for an increase in reports. In Hampshire for example, a dedicated force of an additional 10 officers has been established for the duration of the World Cup.
Domestic abuse is not caused by the World Cup, football, or any sport, it doesn’t start or end with a tournament. Domestic violence is a systematic pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control their partner. However, the unfortunate truth is that the World Cup leads to a rise for the already violent to take out what happens on the pitch, at home.
Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused.
It is important to note that domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. However, statistics show the vast majority of domestic violence incidents are carried out by men and experienced by women.
For victims of domestic abuse, it is important to be aware that the first step to protection is to contact the police.
Once safe, the victim should then seek legal advice. Our specialist solicitors can provide professional, high quality yet sensitive legal advice with expertise in working with both adults and children.
Victims of domestic abuse can apply to the Family Court for an order against the perpetrators, called a non-molestation order or injunction, forbidding them from molesting, intimidating and harassing them, as well as orders to require the perpetrator to stay away from the family home. The court acknowledges that circumstances may worsen when a person asks for help therefore such applications can be dealt with on an urgent basis, without alerting the perpetrators until the order is in place. Only once the protection is in place will the perpetrator be informed as to what has happened and be provided with the court papers.
If you would like to speak to a member of our family law team call us on 0175 321 6399.
By Ceri Thomas and Emma Timson in the family law department