World Cup: Domestic abuse jumps by almost 40% when England lose

Alcohol fuels the violence (stock photo)  (AP)
Alcohol fuels the violence (stock photo) (AP)

Survivors of domestic abuse are being urged to seek support as the World Cup and festive season are expected to drive a spike in violence across the UK.

Domestic abuse rates increase by around 26 percent when England win or draw a World Cup game, and by almost 40 per cent when they lose, according to research by the University of Lancaster.

Abuse peaks about 10 hours after a game, with the violence being fuelled by perpetrators that have drunk alcohol during games, according to a Centre for Economic Performance study.

With the World Cup ending on December 18 this year, so near to Christmas, people concerned about their safety or their family’s wellbeing are being urged to seek professional support.

Survivors can take steps to separate and file for an injunction, or detail a safe route out of home should incidents of abuse occur, law firm Wright Hassall suggests.

Head of the family law team, Dal Heran, said research shows that roughly 15,000 children will be exposed to domestic abuse over the two-week festive season.

“It is well known that consuming large quantities of alcohol can lead to a range of serious issues, especially in an abusive household, where drinking will impair people’s judgment and exacerbate any existing problems.

“Whilst there is no excusing this type of behaviour, there is a tendency amongst many to over-indulge as the Christmas celebrations begin, and this will only be intensified by the arrival of the world’s largest football tournament.

“It is important that victims of domestic abuse take steps to protect themselves and other family members, even if this is done through the adoption of a pre-arranged escape route, allowing them to safely leave the house and stay elsewhere should they need to.”

Mr Heran also suggests that survivors and their families contact charities with 24-hour helplines and online live chats.

“However, if the situation has already reached a point where intervention is futile, then it may be time to seek legal support in order to separate permanently from an abusive partner, ensuring the protection of any children that also live there.”

For the start of the World Cup, the Unison union published a revised Domestic Violence and Abuse Guidance and a new document about Ending Violence Against Women for employers.

“Throughout this World Cup, both trade union representatives and employers have a key responsibility to support any workers who are experiencing domestic abuse,” the union said.

Meanwhile children’s charity NSPCC said there was a 33 percent increase in contacts to its helpline about children experiencing violence and abuse at home during the previous World Cup tournament in 2018.

“Heightened emotional stress, alcohol and betting on the games could act as potential triggers to incidents in the home over the next four weeks,” NSPCC said.

“We’re concerned that hundreds of thousands of children could be at risk as new Government data reveals almost 250,000 children are impacted by domestic abuse in England.”

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you can’t speak and are calling on a mobile press 55 to have your call transferred to the police. Find out how to call the police when you can’t speak. For free confidential advice, 24 hours a day contact a domestic abuse helpline.