The most detailed research into the links between the football World Cup and domestic abuse rates has revealed that in one force area in England and Wales, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won.
The research, by Lancaster University criminologist Dr Stuart Kirby, a former police officer, monitored police reports of domestic violence during the last three World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
While domestic violence rose after each England game, incidents also increased in frequency at each new tournament. Separate national research examining the 2010 World Cup echoed the Kirby findings – with domestic abuse reports up 27.7% when the England team won a game, and 31.5% when they lost.
Source: The Guardian June 14, 2014.
What can I do?
We know that on average, domestic abuse rises during World Cup season in the UK. As a charity that mobilises men, White Ribbon UK asks men to be active in stopping this from happening. Domestic abuse is not only tragic, it is illegal.
Football clubs will decide how best they can fulfil their responsibilities.
Organisations must send a clear message that violence against women and children is “completely unacceptable”, joining the chorus for equality and justice, and breaking the silence that surrounds violence against women and girls.
Clubs can also work through their Community Foundations to provide “positive role models to younger people in the community, encouraging healthy and non-abusive relationships”.
Stewards must be expected to challenge any sexist or homophobic remarks. Clubs can be encouraged to display the World Cup posters and other White Ribbon posters, which challenge abusive behaviour and sexism.