Reports of domestic abuse on England’s World Cup opening weekend in Greater Manchester jumped nearly 30% compared to the same period last year.
Greater Manchester Police saw a total of 248 reports of domestic violence on Saturday – a 21 per cent rise from the same period last year and a 28% rise from the same period during the previous World Cup four years ago.
Italy beat England 2-1 their opening fixture and police are bracing themselves for even more domestic violence reports if the Three Lions lose to Uruguay tonight and crash out of the tournament against Costa Rica next week.
Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine, Head of Public Protection at GMP, said: “Figures have shown that there has been an increase in domestic abuse reports during the weekend’s World Cup England match.
“These high-profile sporting events can increase tension in the home and fuelled by alcohol can lead to abusive behaviour.
“We are sending out a clear message to offenders that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated at any time of the year and the heightened pressures of sporting events is not a justification for abuse.”
When England were thrashed 4-1 by Germany and exited the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, GMP recorded 353 incidents of domestic abuse.
Approximately, 5,897 calls were made to police, which was a 43% increase on the number of 999 calls over the 24-hour-period when compared to an average non-tournament Sunday in June.
And police are working with a number of parties to step up their operation and crack down on the issue this time around.
“GMP is working with local authorities, Women’s Aid, Victim Support and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) to ensure that the appropriate support is out there for victims,” said Detective Chieft Superintendent Jardine.
“During the World Cup, we have specialist domestic abuse officers at key times along with community engagement, encouraging victims and neighbours, friends or relatives of victims to come forward and report abuse to the police.”
North West Ambulance Service also recorded a 34% increase in the number of assaults after England were knocked out.
They also saw a 21% increase in the number of 999 calls compared to the previous weekend that year.
Director of Operations at North West Ambulance Service Derek Cartwright said: “In previous tournaments, we have seen the combination of expectations, emotions, warm weather and alcohol consumption result in an increase in 999 calls for assaults.
“We urge people to think first, drink sensibly and remain aware of their actions so they can enjoy the matches in good spirit and avoid harm to themselves and other people.”
GMP are currently running a major World Cup operation to tackle anti-social behaviour during the tournament.
A poster of a bloodied football shirt with key messages around domestic abuse have been placed around supermarkets, salons and doctor’s surgeries to encourage members of the public to put an end to the abuse with the Twitter hashtag #endthefear also promoting their cause.
Information has also been distributed providing domestic abuse victims, their friends and families and perpetrators with some key contact numbers for support services they can contact.
Joanne Simpson, manager of the Women’s Domestic Abuse Helpline, said: “Big sporting events can be a trigger for domestic abuse. We urge anyone concerned about domestic abuse to contact us for confidential advice and support.
“We can talk through options and make referrals to key agencies across Greater Manchester and to help devise a safety plan.”
The Women’s Domestic Abuse Helpline’s opening hours are: 10am-to-4pm Monday-to-with an extra hour extension until 5pm on Tuesday evenings.