AS the build up to the 2018 World Cup begins West Mercia Police is launching a campaign to combat domestic abuse and encourage victims to seek help.
Domestic abuse tends to rise during international football competitions – for instance during the 2014 World Cup, West Mercia dealt with 506 domestic abuse cases.
However officers say many more people could be suffering in silence, with research showing the average victim will suffer more than 50 incidents before telling anyone.
“Domestic abuse doesn’t have to be physical; it can also be psychological, emotional, sexual and financial,” said
Detective Superintendent Richard Long.
“We are warning perpetrators that there will be consequences for their actions and if you ‘kick off at home’ you can expect to be arrested and could end up facing a 28 day ban from the address.
“It is also important for victims to be aware that any reports of domestic abuse will be taken seriously and we are urging anyone who feels vulnerable or threatened not to suffer in silence, and to come forward so the police and our partners can support them.
“I want to emphasise that major sporting events do not cause domestic abuse in themselves, but the high levels of alcohol consumption combined with the emotional nature of these events seems to increase its prevalence.”
Martin Lakeman of the Worcestershire Forum against domestic abuse added: “Evidence shows the number of domestic abuse incidents have sharply increased during previous football tournaments.
“Win or lose, the heightened emotion, hope, excitement, frustration and ultimately disappointment, for some leads to violence, abuse and fear.
“Abuse is a perpetrators choice. The vast majority of men enjoy football and do not abuse their partners. Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on victims, children and families.
“We don’t want anyone to have to suffer in silence. If you need help and support, call the domestic abuse helpline on 0800 980 3331”
West Mercia Women’s aid report say that during the World Cup Finals in June 2014 calls to their helpline increased by 11 per cent compared to the previous month and were 15 per cent higher than June the previous year.
The charity’s chief executive Sue Coleman said: “Women’s Aid nationally has clear evidence that reports of domestic abuse will escalate during a World Cup Finals competition.
“Women we help report that the high levels of emotion and frustration that are experienced by those who are avid football supporters during this period, can prove an aggravating factor where their partner’s behaviour can already be volatile and abusive.
“Those in relationships where the pattern of behaviour is for one partner to take out their anger on the other adult in the household – regardless of the cause – will be dreading the World Cup again this summer if their partner follows football.”
West Mercia Women’s Aid provides support to men as well as women where they are the victims of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse victims can call the police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, in an emergency, always call 999.
For Worcestershire visit www.worcestershiredomesticandsexualabuse.co.uk
For West Mercia Women’s Aid for confidential help and advice call 0800 980 3331.