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England Addresses Domestic Violence Spike During World Cup

English organizations are rolling out ads and local law enforcement agencies are introducing hotlines.
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England Addresses Domestic Violence Spike During World Cup

It's World Cup fever, with 3.4 billion fans rooting for their beloved teams. But it's also a time when instances of domestic violence are on the rise.

Because of that, the Brits are addressing domestic violence head on with campaigns aimed at football fans. In this commercial from the country's National Centre For Domestic Violence, a woman looks visibly worried after the end of a football match. In another ad, a game is playing on the TV before a man attacks a woman.

During the last World Cup, the UK Cleveland Police received 897 domestic violence reports. This time, they posted an anti-domestic abuse campaign on social media. Other police precincts have done the same, adding support hotlines. 

According to a 2013 study from Lancaster University, domestic violence spiked in the northwest portion of England during the World Cup games in 2002, 2006 and 2010 — regardless of whether the English team won or lost. They found a 38 percent increase in domestic abuse incidents when England's national team lost and a 26 percent increase when the team won.

Research points to alcohol, warmer temperatures and unexpected losses as factors that could lead to domestic violence. To be clear: football doesn't cause people to lash out. But according to the chief executive of Women's Aid, football fan culture doesn't help. She said, "The sexist attitudes, chants and behavior at football matches encourage an environment in which women are belittled and demeaned." 

Women's Aid partnered with other football organizations to create Football United Against Domestic Violence.

Although England has done extensive studying on domestic violence during the World Cup, this isn't an exclusively English issue. Other World Cup countries, like Mexico and Colombia, have high rates of domestic violence that happen on a daily basis.