Domestic abuse victims urged to call charities after England’s Euro 2020 defeat

Victims of domestic abuse have been urged to call charities for support following England’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening.

Domestic violence charities Women’s Aid and Refuge have reached out to anyone who faced escalated violence in their homes after millions of people in the UK watched the Three Lions’ 3-2 defeat on penalties.

Women’s Aid said the number of reported domestic abuse cases tends to rise after football matches are aired, and a small study by Lancaster University academics suggests that violence surges most when England lose.

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Women’s Aid chief executive Farah Nazeer said: “Football does not cause domestic violence – abusers choosing to exert power and control over their victims cause it.

“We do know that the number of reported cases of domestic abuse rises around football matches.

“Increased alcohol consumption and the strong emotions associated with the game can cause existing abuse to increase in both severity and frequency.”

Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison agreed that football tournaments “exacerbate pre-existing abusive behaviours” and assured victims they are “not alone”.

She said: “Throughout the Euros, our message to women and girls experiencing domestic abuse has been clear: ‘You are not alone, Refuge is here for you’.

“Regardless of who wins and who loses at football, domestic abuse is systemic, purposeful behaviour and happens all year round.”

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It comes after research from the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance suggested that a football game increases the risk of domestic abuse victimisation.

It found that although domestic abuse decreases during the two-hour period when the game is played, abuse starts to increase in its aftermath and this effect peaks between 10 and 12 hours later.

A study by Lancaster University researchers in 2013 also found that domestic abuse rose by 26% when England won or drew a match, and by 38% when they lost.

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An estimated 1.6 million women in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the year to March 2020, according to a report published last week by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

– Free and confidential support is available from Refuge’s 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, with digital support via livechat Monday-Friday 3pm-10pm on https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/ or via Women’s Aid at https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/