Domestic abuse cases during Euros ‘could double’ as police seek to understand link between football and violence

15 June 2024, 00:00 | Updated: 15 June 2024, 00:21

There are fears domestic abuse calls "could double" during the Euros. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Fraser Knight

Domestic abuse cases during Euros ‘could double’ as police seek to understand link between football and violence.

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A police leader has said she is concerned the number of calls about domestic abuse could double during the European football championship.

The tournament is underway in Germany and police forces in the UK have put on alert to deal with an influx of emergency calls.

Police have been put on high alert to support victims, as the tournament gets underway.

Previous perpetrators and people with football banning orders are to be monitored more closely.

England football fans celebrating in 2021
The next few weeks could be turbulent for some survivors. Picture: Alamy

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse, told LBC: “Football doesn’t cause domestic abuse, but we know that we see an increase in reporting, particularly around major tournaments where people experience intense emotions.

“These are not new people who, as a result of watching football, get involved in abusive behaviour - they’re often abusing their partner already and the intensity of emotions and often increased use of alcohol makes that worse.

“We’ll be ensuring that we’ve got enough officers to deal with incidents, having teams who are already thinking about prosecutions that we might want to pursue and protective orders that we might want to obtain against those people who are already causing us concern.”

football hooligan waits for violence to erupt after afternoon drinking session in preparation for the match
Police have been put on high alert to support victims, as the tournament gets underway. Picture: Alamy

Research from the University of Lancaster has previously suggested that when England loses a game, cases of domestic abuse have increased by 38%.

But they also went up by 26% on days when the national team won.

Police say they don’t definitively know that there is a link between football and abuse, but that data is being gathered to fully understand if there is.

Officers have been contacting known survivors of domestic violence to ensure safeguards are in place for them and intelligence has been gathered to identify potential perpetrators.

That includes people with a history of abuse and others with football banning orders in place.

Louisa Rolfe said it’s important to remember that when those orders are there, it is likely to mean that the person could be watching the game at home - or in the pub.

Police say they're on high alert to support victims
Police say they're on high alert to support victims. Picture: Alamy

Teresa Parker, from the charity Women’s Aid, told LBC: “When you talk about catalysts for increased abuse, that can include alcohol, drugs and it can include football - but it can include a combination of lots of different things.

“You look at men who potentially go out with lots of people, who might tell jokes that are inappropriate, sexist, misogynistic that are not challenged. It might be that there’s an increase in alcohol or that recreational drugs are being taken.

“But ultimately domestic abuse is down to that perpetrator. You make that choice to use violence.

“Many people drink alcohol; many people enjoy football and will do so during the Euros and would never dream of hurting their partner.”

Women’s Aid and the National Police Chiefs’ Council have said “everyone has a role to play” in preventing domestic abuse.

Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “Enjoy the football; the football is not the problem here. Abuse has been tolerated far too long in society because it’s seen as someone else’s business. This is everyone’s business.”

If you or someone you know might be at risk of domestic abuse, visit www.womensaid.org.uk or contact the national domestic abuse helpline, 24 hours a day, on 0808 2000 247.

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