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Euro 2016: A Time for Heroes On and Off the Pitch

17 June 2016
France Euro 2016 logo

Violence – it is a word which has hung over the first week of Euro 2016 football tournament. Images of rival football fans fighting on the streets of France have been shown across the UK and around the world. Unfortunately, our experience, academic research and police statistics show that during football tournaments there is also an increase in violence and abuse in homes across the country. 

In 2013, research was published by Dr Stuart Kirby and Professor Brian Francis of Lancaster University. Their report analysed statistics from Lancashire Constabulary relating to England matches during the 2002, 2006 and 2010 football World Cups. The findings showed that the average number of reported domestic abuse incidents:

  • Rose by 38% when England played and lost.
  • Rose by 26% when England won or drew.
  • Were 79.3 on days when England played, 70.5 on days immediately following an England game – compared to just 58.2 on days when the team were not playing. 

The authors of the report explained:

“The tournament is held in the summer and is associated with warmer temperatures, increased alcohol consumption and brings individuals in closer proximity to others. Although it is difficult to say the tournament is a casual factor, the prestigious tournament does concentrate the risk factors into a short and volatile period, thereby intensifying the concepts of masculinity, rivalry and aggression.”

More recent statistics published after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, during which England failed to win a game, showed that: 

  • Essex Police reported a 33% increase in reported cases of domestic abuse.
  • West Yorkshire Police said the number of calls they received related to domestic abuse doubled.
  • Kent Police reported that following England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy in the opening game, there was an additional 21 domestic abuse offences reported when compared to the previous week.

Commander Christine Jones, who is the senior officer responsible for domestic abuse at the Metropolitan Police, said:

“Home office analysis and academic research indicates there will be an increase in domestic abuse during the course of the competition. Major sporting events do not cause domestic abuse as perpetrators are responsible for their own actions. However, increased alcohol consumption combined with heightened emotions seems to increase domestic abuse at key times throughout the tournament.” 

If you are affected by domestic abuse during the tournament, you can call Leeway. We are a Norfolk-based, independent domestic abuse charity and provide confidential and non-judgemental support to any person wishing to escape an abusive relationship. For free advice, please call our 24-hour helpline on 0300 561 0077 or in the case of an emergency call 999.