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The Euros: No excuse for domestic abuse
IDAS blog

The Euros: No excuse for domestic abuse

21 June, 2024
Man holding football under one arm and a red card in the other. He is blowing a whistle.

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Football doesn’t cause domestic abuse, yet some police forces have noted an increase in domestic abuse incidents following matches. With the Euros well and truly underway, we wanted to explain what could really be going on with the spike in reported incidents.

Understanding domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is underpinned by a power imbalance in a relationship, where one person tries to exert their control over the other. This could be a relationship with an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. Many people assume that someone would need to lose control to inflict harm or the threat of harm on someone they are supposed to care for, however most abusers are calculated in their use of abusive behaviours to gain control. The ability to control their behaviour is why many abusers hide in plain sight, holding down jobs and even responsibilities in their community.

Abusers make excuses for their actions which can confuse and undermine the person they are harming, keeping them trapped in the abusive relationship. Linking domestic abuse to football suggests that abusers lose control and lash out when a match doesn’t go in their favour, but most abusers know exactly what they are doing. Football doesn’t cause domestic abuse; only perpetrators are responsible.

The role of alcohol consumption and heightened emotions

During football tournaments, alcohol consumption, high expectations and heightened emotions may escalate abusers’ existing behaviours which could, in turn, act as a catalyst for the victim to reach out for support.

Sarah Hill, CEO of IDAS, clarifies:

"Domestic abuse causes distress, fear, and serious harm to victims and children, sometimes forcing families to flee their homes and leading to prison sentences for perpetrators. Alcohol consumption and frustration over a team losing a football match are never excuses for abusive behaviour. If you're worried about your relationship, please seek support by calling our helpline.”

Domestic incidents reported during football matches are usually signs of ongoing abuse. Heightened emotions during football tournaments and alcohol abuse could worsen the situation, but they don't cause domestic abuse.

Warning signs of abuse

Abusers use various tactics to control their victims, including:

  • Emotional Abuse: Humiliation, constant criticism, and shouting.
  • Financial Abuse: Controlling finances and restricting access to money.
  • Social Isolation: Keeping victims away from friends and family.
  • Surveillance: Monitoring activities and demanding access to phones, social media, and emails.
  • Sexual Abuse: Forcing victims into unwanted sexual activities.
  • Physical Abuse: Kicking, punching, slapping, and hitting.
  • Threats: Making threats to instil fear, this could include threatening animals, children or even their own lives.

Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, psychological, or sexual and can impact anyone, regardless of gender, age, or background. Many victims endure abuse for years before seeking help.

Seeking help and support

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, we encourage you to contact us for support. By recognising the signs and understanding the nature of domestic abuse, we can better support victims and work towards preventing abuse in our communities.

While football matches and alcohol consumption might amplify tensions, they are not the cause of domestic abuse. The responsibility lies solely with the abuser.

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