With EURO 2024 kicking off on 14 June this year it’s the appropriate time to address the link between domestic abuse and large sporting events.  

First things first, the Euros are not going to cause domestic abuse where there was none before.  In the homes where there are incidents during or after the games, domestic abuse will already be present in one of its many forms.  Domestic abuse incidents are not put in the diary, they don’t only happen at certain times of the year.  2 women a week are killed because of domestic abuse, every week, regardless of what sporting tournament is on our TVs.  1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men don’t suffer only because England win, lose or draw.

The study that showed the link between football and domestic abuse was a relatively small piece of research from 2014[i]by Kirby et al.  They looked at three large tournaments and concluded that reported cases of intimate partner violence increased by 38% when England lost and by 26% when they won or drew in the tournament.  Yes, you read that right, incidents can increase even after a win. Other studies have shown that there could be a link between domestic abuse incidents, warmer weather, and greater alcohol consumption. [ii] Both factors, particularly coupled with football tournaments, lead us to spend more time out of the home, meaning incidents may be more likely to be seen or heard therefore reported to authorities.  Coupled with increased policing during some particular games and wide-spread harrowing campaign’s such as Women’s Aid “He’s Coming Home” for the Euros in 2022, is it just that less domestic abuse is hidden at certain times?  Could it be that more perpetrators use the excuse of being intoxicated or that their emotions were running high?

What we do know is that those that have suffered domestic abuse before EURO 2024 will continue to suffer during and after. Domestic abuse is an enduring societal issue that isn’t discussed or confronted nearly enough.  So, when the trophy has been lifted and the campaign posters are removed, remember to keep domestic abuse and those impacted at the forefront of your minds.  Ensure victims receive the right support and that perpetrators are offered the appropriate type of behaviour change programme.  Abuse is always a choice the perpetrator makes, regardless of what’s on the TV or whether the sun is shining.

[i] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022427813494843

[ii]  https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/25550711/Brooks_Hay_and_Lombard_Home_Game_DVA_and_Football_JBGV_FINAL.pdf

If you are concerned that one or your clients may be experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse, please do not hesitate to call The Wish Centre for advice and guidance.  We offer support for victims, children and young people impacted by Domestic Abuse and run behaviour change programmes for perpetrators of abuse County wide.

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