It doesn’t rise by 26% when they win either. In short, the outcome of the game has very little impact on whether or not domestic abuse is happening across the UK. Because it is happening. It is happening in every single community, World Cup or no World Cup. But the vast majority of people it is happening to never call the police, for lots of reasons. So whilst the World Cup might see an increase of reports, primarily of physical violence to the police, this is very different to an increase in domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is not a one off incident that is reported to the Police. And critically, domestic abuse is not just physical violence. It is an ongoing pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour. It’s being cut off from friends and family, being told you are worthless, ugly and good for nothing and it is doing exactly as he says because you are scared of what might happen if you don’t.
Domestic abuse is treading on eggshells because you don’t know whether you’ve done something wrong – or broken one of his many unspoken and made up rules – but the truth is you can’t do anything right. Because it’s not about you or your actions, but him and his power. It’s about the power he has and uses over you and the power society gives him.
To be very clear: someone who is capable of/likely to physically assault their partner during or after a football game is capable of/likely to physically assault their partner at any time.
And for as long as we blame football, alcohol, faith, poverty or drugs for domestic abuse, we’re not holding anything or anyone to account in any meaningful way. The one to blame, the person responsible for abusing their power and their partner is the perpetrator, and all eyes should be on them.
When the team hangs up their strip and flies home from Russia there’s no risk of local domestic abuse services closing down because of a lack of demand.
In fact, research shows that the demand for specialist services is greater than ever, with over 50% of Women’s Aid groups in Scotland experiencing a greater demand for their services and an additional 45% reporting that demand remains consistently high with previous years.
No, when the World Cup is over, domestic abuse will continue.
That is why as the tournament kicks off we have one ask: support your team but go a step further – find your local Women’s Aid group and show them your support all year round.
At Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline we won’t put pressure on you, or tell you what to do. We know it isn’t always easy to pick up the phone. When you call the helpline, your call will be answered by fully trained call handlers who have lots of experience supporting people affected by domestic abuse and forced marriage.
You don’t need to know what to say, just know that we believe you, and we are here for you.
Call: 0800 027 1234 | Email: email@example.com | Website: www.sdafmh.org.uk