Campaign launched to tackle potential rise in domestic violence

Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement
Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement

Bucks community safety team are leading a campaign to tackle an expected rise in domestic abuse during the football World Cup.

The countywide social media campaign is being led by Buckinghamshire Community Safety Partnership and will help tackle an expected rise in domestic violence and abuse over the next month.

The partnership will work with Thames Valley Police to highlight the support available to victims of such crimes during the tournament using the hashtag: #WatchYourGame.

Research shows reports of domestic violence and abuse increase during large sporting events and figures from the 2010 World Cup showed there was often a spike when England played, irrespective of the match result, mostly connected to drinking alcohol.

Moreover, when England beat Slovenia 1-0 in June 2010, there was a 27% rise in cases across the UK.

In Bucks, there was a nine per cent increase in domestic-related incidents during the World Cup in June and July 2010 (1,332 crimes and incidents) compared to the same months in 2009 (1,222).

As well as the social media campaign, community safety officers will be in Kingsbury, Aylesbury, from 5pm on Thursday June 19 ahead of England’s second group match with Uruguay, to warn people about the risks of drinking excessively.

Throughout the tournament supporting information will be posted in libraries and GP surgeries.

Martin Phillips, Bucks County Council’s cabinet member for community engagement said: ‘The World Cup is a fantastic event and we all want to enjoy it.

“But it is important to ensure we are there for those who often suffer domestic violence in silence during these big sporting events.

“It is not that football or alcohol appear to be root causes of the increase in reports, but both factors can make things worse.

“Our main aim is to do all we can to keep our communities safe.”

Community safety co-ordinator Faye Blunstone said football matches can be a difficult time when partners may abuse alcohol and violence ensues.

She said: “We want victims to know support is available and how to get it.

“We would urge those suffering abuse to come forward.”

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence and abuse contact either The National domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247, Thames Valley Police on 101 or Aylesbury Women’s Aid on 01296 436827.