English police on high alert to curb abuse surges during World Cup

Police in England are mobilising in preparation of increased domestic abuse during the World Cup.

Millions across the globe have spent the last few weeks counting down the seconds until the greatest sporting event on earth kicked off in Russia.

For abuse victims, however, it would appear it was more dread than anticipation.

Researchers from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom found that in the 2014 World Cup, domestic abuse in the town rose by 38% when England lost. Draws and wins were hardly better as the rate still rose by an average of 26%. There was an average number of 79.3 reported incidents when England played in comparison to 58.2 when the team did not play. The university’s analysis also found an 11% increase of domestic abuse was present on the days after the Three Lions played in the World Cup.

The shocking statistics have inspired the Give Domestic Abuse the Red Card campaign; supported by multiple organisations, including various police structures. 

“The World Cup, as with other major sporting events, is often associated with an increase in incidents of domestic abuse because of factors such as increased alcohol consumption and an increase in tension,” said specialist crime Superintendent Anne-Marie Salwey of the Cleveland Police in the north-east of England.

“Over the last three months we have seen a significant increase in reports of domestic abuse and we believe this is partly because victims feel more confident in reporting it to us but we are acutely aware that behind each incident is a victim and an offender. We have a team of dedicated domestic abuse specialists who understand how difficult it is for a victim of domestic abuse to come forward and the sensitivities required.”

The Cleveland Police will be deploying a designated support car with a social worker present during all England World Cup games.

Hampshire abuse said they will be adding five additional “domestic abuse cars” to active duty during match days.

“We know the tournament leads to an increase in both alcohol-related violence and domestic abuse,” chief inspector Mike Haines said according to the BBC.

“These additional officers will … spend more time with victims of abuse and help them with safeguarding.”

England play their first game in this year’s World Cup against Tunisia at 8pm on Tuesday night in Volgograd. — With additional reporting by Kiri Rupiah

Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

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