With the 2018 Football World Cup due to start on Thursday 14 June, West Lancashire Borough Council is urging victims of domestic abuse not to suffer in silence.
According to research by Lancaster University into Lancashire Constabulary figures from the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, incidents of domestic abuse rose by 38% in Lancashire when the England national team lost a match. They also increased by 26 per cent when the England national team played and won or drew compared with days when there was no England match. The research also found there was a carry-over effect, with incidents of abuse 11% higher the day after an England match. The day of the week a game took place was taken into account when coming up with these figures.
Domestic abuse can take many forms including physical abuse, sexual abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour, financial abuse and emotional or psychological abuse. Anyone who is forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner’s reaction is being abused. Abuse can happen at any stage of a relationship and is very rarely a ‘one-off’.
Men can also be the victims of domestic abuse. Between June 2016 and May 2017 in 20% of domestic abuse related crimes in West Lancashire the victim was male.
The Council is using some of the resources supplied by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to raise awareness of domestic abuse during the World Cup and also supports the White Ribbon Campaign, an international initiative aimed at ensuring men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.
Councillor Kevin Wright, West Lancashire Borough Council portfolio holder for Health and Community Safety, said: “Domestic abuse is a crime and the research from Lancaster University suggest that the Football World Cup is a time where this crime can be more common. We want victims to know that they are not alone and if they approach those services that can help them their complaints will be handled with care by people sympathetic to what they are going through.”
The Liberty Centre helps victims in a number of ways. These include a free confidential 24 hour Advice and Information line number 0808 100 3062; practical and emotional support for all victims of domestic abuse; confidential counselling; legal advice and the Women’s Refuge for short term accommodation.
Gwen Bleasdale, Chief Executive of the Liberty Centre, said: “We want anyone living in fear to come forward, including men. We will listen, understand and support anyone who is a victim or is just making an enquiry.
“There are many reasons why women may find it difficult to see their situation as abusive or even leave an abusive relationship. A woman may not know where to go or even believe it is better to stay for the sake of her children. If victims don’t know what to do they can phone us and get some advice.”
Help and support is also available through Lancashire Victims Service by calling 0300 323 0085.
Note to editor:
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge is 0808 2000 247.