World Cup's Dark Side: Violenza Domestica

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 6/07/2010 12:06:00 AM
"Fer cryin' out loud, how can you miss that, Rooney?!"

And so begins England's campaign for its second World Cup trophy since 1966 at home. Given how emotions run high when the game is on, there has emerged a curious and deplorable political economy in which reported incidences of domestic violence surge on match days. From Auntie:
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is warning of the threat of increased domestic violence during England's World Cup campaign. Reports of domestic violence to England and Wales police forces increased by an average of 25% on England's match days during the last World Cup in 2006. Acpo is recommending forces make warning visits to known domestic abuse offenders before the tournament.

The World Cup starts on 11 June, with England's first game the following day. Acpo has written to all forces in England and Wales to ask them to highlight the problem to officers and detail their plans for dealing with it. The association's recommendations include:

* Command units to identify top 10 domestic abuse offenders in their area, and remind them action will be taken on further reports of violence
* Domestic abuse specialists and investigators to be put on duty on days of England's matches
* Referral of domestic abuse victims to support networks as soon as possible

Where people are being dealt with for violence in a public place during the World Cup, any previous history of domestic abuse will be taken into account before they are released to return home.
And now the BBC also reports that Liverpool City Council is mounting a public campaign to try and prevent a similar surge in domestic violence this time around:
Posters highlighting the impact of domestic violence on children have been unveiled in Liverpool to coincide with the World Cup. The image shows a father assaulting his wife as their daughter sits on the stairs with the words: "After the final whistle it all kicked off." Reports of domestic violence during the 2006 tournament rose by 31% on England match days, Home Office data shows. Every year, police receive 12,000 calls about domestic violence in Liverpool.

Councillor Anne O'Byrne, Liverpool City Council's cabinet member for community safety, said: "It is a sad fact that domestic violence is an everyday occurrence in homes across the city. It could be that couples find themselves having a blazing row after a night of drinking in the pub or at home whilst watching the matches. We want them to think about the damaging impact this has on their child and their family as a whole."

The campaign is funded by Liverpool's Community Safety Partnership - Citysafe - which includes the city council, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Primary Care Trust (PCT). It is being backed by the NSPCC and Merseyside Probation Service. The posters are appearing on billboards on main roads and posters at railway stations, and in pubs bars and hospitals.
I am curious as to what the mechanisms leading to violence are here as the reports aren't specific. Are the offenders looking for an outlet to pent-up and (alcohol-fuelled?) frustrations from watching these matches? Or, my guess is that quite a few have taken a punt (or bet) on a particular team which may not be faring too well. Sports betting is very common in Britain. Within walking distance of my flat are the (aptly-named) Ladbrokes and William Hill ("the world's biggest bookmaker"). I suspect their services exacerbate household tensions when things don't go according to plan.