Increase in domestic violence linked to England World Cup exit

Before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa began police were already preparing for an increase in cases of domestic violence; the link between large sporting events and violence in the household and in the street having already been well documented.

Prior to the beginning of the World Cup a national domestic violence charity, Women’s Aid, launched a campaign with several male celebrities. Nicola Harwin, chief executive of the charity, said:

“Some police areas have found an increase in the reporting of incidents of domestic violence during big sporting events such as the World Cup, so now is a very relevant time to raise awareness. We hope that this campaign will reach out to both men and women to send out the clear message that domestic violence is never acceptable.”

Unfortunately, the first surge in domestic violence during the World Cup was registered after England lost to Germany to leave the competition. Ambulance crews in Cumbria and Lancashire received a 26% increase in calls compared to the previous weekend, with one region seeing an increase of 127% in domestic assaults. Injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to one incident where a pregnant woman was knocked down stairs. During an earlier match there was a report of woman being hit in the face with a glass by her partner.

Derek Cartwright, NWAS’s director of emergency services, said:

“This is a very sobering statistic and one we found extremely shocking.

“There was already an increase after the first match compared to a normal weekend. It’s an awful situation where you see people getting into these kind of difficulties just because someone loses a football match on the other side of the world.”

He went on to warn that these figures may only be showing a small percentage of what is really going on.

“We should bear in mind that these are only the incidents which have been reported and required an ambulance. I suspect that the vast majority do not actually flag it up because they are afraid, embarrassed or ashamed.

A spokeswoman for Women’s Aid reacted to the statistics by saying:

“We know that excessive alcohol can make the frequency and severity of existing violence worse, and perpetrators may use alcohol to excuse their behaviour. No matter what the ‘excuse’ it does not remove responsibility.”

Lenore Rice, a solicitor specialising in Family law at Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast, commented:

"Anyone who suffers domestic violence is likely to need a solicitor to assist them in obtaining a non-molestation order and/or occupancy order from the Court.  Our experienced team appreciate that attending Court can be quite an ordeal and we aim to act in our client’s best interests, draw upon expert knowledge to explain legal options and support the client through the process."

If you live in Northern Ireland and require legal advice in respect of domestic abuse or any other matter of family law, contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast or Bangor by emailing .

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