Whilst many of us enjoy the energetic and dynamic feeling of togetherness that football tournaments bring, many victims of domestic abuse fear these events. The Euros brought glaring headlines, with a study by the National Centre for Domestic Violence showing that reported cases of intimate partner violence increased by 38% when England lost and by 26% when they won or drew in the tournament. Of course, this statistic only relates to the reported cases and, therefore, sadly the actual number of intimate partner violence is likely to be significantly higher.
The Local Government Association, which is the national membership body for local authorities, also issued a warning against domestic abuse, ahead of the Euros.
Whilst the Euros have now concluded, domestic football returned in August, inevitably bringing worry to many individuals.
It is clear from the new Domestic Abuse Act 2021 that many types of behaviour can be considered abusive, including physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic abuse, and psychological, emotional or other abuse. The Act is also clear that it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.
It is also important to remember that domestic abuse is not always obvious, and abusers will often engage in gaslighting behaviour to manipulate their victim. Gaslighting often involves making the victim forget the gravity of what happened, causing them to question their own perception of the abuse. This can result in the victim being manipulated to understate the abuse, so the relationship, and ultimately the abuse, can continue.
Many blame alcohol as the main catalyst for the increase in domestic abuse incidents. Whilst studies do show that increases were driven by perpetrators that had consumed alcohol, we must be cautious not to allow perpetrators to simply get away with abuse by saying ‘I just had a bit too much to drink’. While alcohol is often a compounding factor for aggressive behaviour, ultimately, it is often the result of the football match which provokes the negative emotions, resulting in violence.
Unfortunately, England does appear to have a reputation for violent hooliganism involving football matches, and we only have to look at the photos of the aftermath of England’s defeat in July to evidence this. The streets of London were thrown into anarchy, and perhaps we should wonder how many of those individuals continued the violence at home, against their partner or perhaps even their children.
There is protection for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Individuals are able to obtain an array of protective injunctions, including Non-Molestation Orders, Occupation Orders and the new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs).
Bastian Lloyd Morris Solicitor Advocates have a specialist Emergency Proceedings Department who work tirelessly to secure legal protection for victims of domestic abuse. Bastian Lloyd Morris are committed to providing expert advice and assistance on all aspects of protection from domestic abuse.
For more information about Bastian Lloyd Morris, visit www.blmsolicitors.co.uk or call 01908 546580