Victims of domestic abuse urged to seek help amid concerns of ‘Euro2020 effect’

A domestic abuse charity has urged victims to seek support as the England men’s football team progresses through Euro 2020.

The Three Lions will take on underdogs Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday, knowing that victory will leave them one game away from silverware.

But concerns abound over the link between football matches and domestic violence.

Ruth Davison, chief executive of charity Refuge, said: “As England advance though the Euros and ahead of the semi-finals on Wednesday – and a potential England final on Sunday – Refuge’s message to women and girls experiencing domestic abuse remains clear: you are not alone, Refuge is here for you.

Domestic abuse
The charity Refuge has urged victims of domestic abuse to seek help (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“While football tournaments do not cause abuse – abuse is always a choice a perpetrator makes – they can exacerbate pre-existing abusive behaviours.

“Let’s be really clear, there is never an excuse for abusive behaviour and abuse doesn’t come ‘by appointment’, it happens all year round.

“However, Refuge wants to reassure women that 365 days a year, come rain or shine, regardless of what happens at Wembley Stadium this week, we are here for you, and can offer you the support you need.”

The warning 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 suggested 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 following the game.

About 60,000 fans are expected to watch the semi-final at Wembley on Wednesday.

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 via www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.