THE World Cup is bringing out so many emotions – lots of excitement about watching football and dreaming of an England win.
But there is a darker side that many people can be unaware of – when emotions are running so high, it can have a direct effect on women and children living with domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse affects an estimated 1.6million women a year and while football doesn’t cause domestic abuse, there is evidence that abuse can get worse or happen more often when there are big football games.
There are many reasons – alcohol is consumed on a larger scale, tensions run high, levels of aggression can increase with disappointment or success.
During the 2010 World Cup, there was a significant increase in domestic violence reports to the police when England lost – or won.
There are no excuses for abuse. I know from my own experience of coercive control, that abusing someone is a decision that a person makes.
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There might be things that make a situation worse, but only that person is responsible for hurting their partner or family.
This year the World Cup coincides with Christmas – another period when incidents of abuse traditionally spike.
It terrifies me what could happen. Add in the cost of living crisis that is stopping many women leaving their abusers, we have never known a time like it.
I know what it’s like to be scared and to feel like there is no way out, and I know this is what will be happening to many other women.
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We’re asking everyone to do what they can to raise awareness of support services during the World Cup. To find out more go to womensaid.org.uk.
Football will hopefully be coming home, but for too many women after the game, their abuser is coming home.
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