Domestic abuse and the Euros 2024

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Health Assured team

18 June 2024

The Euros are a time for celebration, emotion, and excitement, encouraging a general sense of togetherness that unites most of the county. Many people across the UK, and other countries, enjoy the comradery of watching the football with their friends and family.

However, there is a darker side to these large-scale football events that impacts the mental health of vulnerable people in the UK.

According to new research, domestic abuse reports increase by 38% when England lost a match and 26% when they won or drew. This study isn’t new, the Lancaster University highlighted this problem over 10 years ago.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is a growing problem within the UK and according to the National Centre for  Domestic Violence 1 in 5 adults experience domestic abuse during their lifetime.

Domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, or/and violent behaviour towards someone else. Abusers can use tactics, such as degradation, isolation, control, and intimidation to psychologically, emotionally, financially, or/and physically abuse someone.

Most commonly, we can see this in romantic couples but there are other relationships that experience domestic abuse, such as family members and carers. It is often hard to notice as many abusers wait until they are behind closed doors.

Domestic violence and abuse ripples through the community, affecting family members, children, friends, and impacting mental health on a serious level.

Men can fall victim to domestic abuse but often men are the perpetrators. According to Women’s Aid, a woman is killed by her male partner or former partner every four days in the UK.

Link between domestic abuse and the Euros

The Euros is the final tournament organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and consists of the senior men’s national teams across the continental champions. It is a time for commemoration, celebration, and anticipation for many people across Europe, and the world, but emotions can turn quickly from just the kick of a ball.

It is clear there is a correlation between football matches and domestic violence and abuse. In a study conducted 10 years ago, Lancaster University showcased how abuse increased by 38% in Lancashire when the England team played and lost.

Although the Euro’s do not directly cause domestic abuse, offenses increase dramatically whilst big football events are played. It’s important not to ignore these statistics, so victims feel supported, have a voice, and can access the help they need.

Police forces across the country are delivering statements to warn potential perpetrators that domestic abuse will not be tolerated, to show support to victims and to encourage them to use their voice.

Studies taken place in recent years have also display similar results. Data highlighted by the West Mercia Police stated that the day after an England game domestic violence increases by 11% with the percentage dependant on the result.

Alcohol consumption

The Euros, and other large-scale football events, encourages excessive drinking and for long periods of time which is known to incite anti-social, abusive, and violent behaviour and offences.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that roughly 55% of domestic abuse perpetrators were drinking alcohol prior to assault.

When alcohol is involved, domestic abuse can become significantly more intense and severe. Alcohol affects our decision-making, information processing, and self-regulation skills, meaning that abusers tend to be more violent without considering the consequences.

Heightened emotions

Football, like many other sports, is passionate and significantly emotional for many fans. This passion and dedication often encourage enjoyment and happiness, but occasionally can encourage despair and anger.

Pre-match expectations can be high and when the score doesn’t go the way football fans want or expect, emotions can start to become intense. With negative emotions high, perpetrators may take this as the time to lash out at victims.

Police across the country have come forward to oppose the idea of excuses for domestic abuse perpetrators. Det Insp Ben Ferguson stated, “Passionate support of any sport does not justify domestic abuse.”

Victim blaming

Often, abusers believe they are within their right to be violent and abuse their victim. In an article from the Northamptonshire police, Detective Inspector Kirk Pender-Harris stated that perpetrators commonly minimise or justify their abusive behaviour and shift the blame onto the victim.

Perpetrators may see domestic abuse as the victim’s fault, expressing warped opinions, such as “they pushed me to it” or “they had it coming.” They distance themselves from all responsibility and use the excuse that the victim deserved it or push them to commit the abuse.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse

If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse there are a few things you can do to get yourself to safety. It is important to note that you do not need to wait for a crisis to find support.

  • Getting in contact with your GP, a doctor, home visitor, or midwife.
  • Most police stations have Domestic Violence Units with specially trained officers, and you can also call 999 OR 101 to report an incident.
  • For women, you can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247
  • For men, you can call Men’s Advice Line on 0808 8010 327
  • For more information and contact details you can visit the NHS

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