In the 2014 World Cup, England didn’t make it out of the group stages after losing every match they played. It was a disappointing year for England fans by all accounts, but new statistics show it was also a violent one, as a new study, conducted by Lancaster University, reveals that reports of domestic abuse across Lancashire rose by 38% when England lost a game.
Police forces across the UK prepared for a similar rise in domestic violence, as England faced Tunisia this week in their first fixture of the competition. Humberside and Cleveland are among a number of forces that have lent their support to the Give Domestic Abuse The Red Card campaign and many will dedicate extra response officers to domestic-violence incidents on match days.
“We know the tournament leads to an increase in both alcohol-related violence and domestic abuse,” Chief Inspector Mike Haines, from the Hampshire Constabulary, told Sky News. The force has introduced an extra five patrol cars and 10 additional officers specifically for responding to and supporting domestic-violence victims. “These additional officers will spend more time with victims of abuse and help them with safeguarding,” assured Haines.
In the alcohol-fuelled, hyper-masculine world of the World Cup, it’s women who are put in danger
While the results of the study don’t split down gender lines, women are statistically much more likely to suffer domestic violence. When this is woven into the alcohol-fuelled, hyper-masculine world of the World Cup, it’s women who are put in danger. So much so that women aren’t safe if England win either – the research found that domestic violence also rose by 26% when the team were successful or drew. Last World Cup, there was still an 11% rise in domestic violence on the day after an England match.
The level of domestic-abuse incidents reported to police during the World Cup has steadily increased over the past decade – 64 reports were recorded in 2006, jumping to 99 in 2010. Of course, this may reflect a shift in more victims feeling empowered to report their experience of abuse – but it by no means minimises the troubling link between football and the violent outbursts of abuse hurled at women.
According to Twitter, women aren’t allowed opinions on the football – for evidence, see Patrice Evra’s patronising slow clap after Eni Aluko’s professional punditry – but when it comes to the outcome, it seems women will be the ones facing the consequences.