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The Dark Relationship Between Domestic Violence and the World Cup

June 29 2018

We’re over halfway through the 2018 World Cup in Russia and it has been a tournament of many ups and downs for fans around the world. Specifically, in Leeds, fans have gathered in communal areas such as Millennium Square and the Original Oak in Headingley to show their support for what has been a positive campaign so far.

However, reports have been released that show a dark twist regarding the correlation between England’s longstanding disappointment at major tournaments, and domestic violence rates. 
 
A recent study published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency fixated on Lancashire alone revealed that reported incidences of domestic abuse increased by 38% when the England football team lose in a tournament. Comparatively, it rose by 26% in the event of a win or a draw. Other correlations revealed that during the 2014 World Cup, reported incidents rose to 79.3% whilst England were playing, but remained high with 58.2% whilst they were not playing.
 
This year, forces such as BT Sport, the FA and the Premier League have accompanied Women’s Aid in promoting their Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign alongside Give Domestic Abuse the Red Card.
 
Some columnists have praised the awareness being shown, as it has exposed the frequency and volume at which serious cases of domestic violence occurs. The figures of reported cases will only be a fraction of the real number; known as the dark figure of crimes.
 
In an article written for The Guardian, author Eva Wiseman wrote:
 
“Football and alcohol do not cause domestic violence. Tension built by these things, this summer, will contribute to and trigger it, but the cause of domestic violence is abusive men that lash out at their partners in order to control them. Though there’s an argument that the sexist chants and macho culture around the game contribute to an environment where women are objectified and sidelined, there are many millions of football fans who choose not to abuse their girlfriends: blaming the game and the booze seems, slightly, to absolve those that do.”
 
The important factor to note here is that the belief for many is not that football causes domestic violence and nor does alcohol. More so, the two in tandem with each other combined with the tension of supporting the nation in any sporting event tends to facilitate the culture of violence towards others; whether it is a partner or another person.
 
Wiseman continues:
 
“While anger is noisy and violence bruises, the more insidious evils, such as emotional abuse and financial control, remain largely unrecorded and unreported. These stats should give us pause to consider the abuse playing out in neighbours’ homes every night, whether or not their team is winning or losing, and regardless of what’s on TV.”
 
Tangible evidence of emotional or financial abuse can be harder to prove in comparison to verbal and physical abuse. Domestic abuse can now be broken down into multiple categories, many of which are still going unreported. Thanks to these awareness campaigns, hopefully more victims will be brave enough to speak out against their oppressors.
 
As an accredited law firm based in Leeds, it is part of our responsibility to offer legal support for victims of all forms of abuse. Please call us if you require legal representation regarding domestic abuse in Leeds and report it to the West Yorkshire Police immediately if you are a victim. Our phone numbers can be found below:
Leeds City Centre: 0113 246 8163
Leeds Bramley: 0113 255 8666
Leeds South: 0113 276 0044
Harrogate: 01423 562121

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