Police and campaigners are warning football fans in Rugby about new powers to tackle domestic abuse during the forthcoming World Cup.
Domestic abuse can increase during international football tournaments by 27 per cent on days when England plays, with experts saying that heightened emotions and alcohol among the population as a whole are part of the cause.
Det Supt Stephen Cullen of Warwickshire Police said: “We are not saying that football fans are more likely to perpetrate domestic abuse, but that football fans make up a wide cross-section of society, and domestic abuse happens throughout all levels of society.”
New powers that came into force last week mean that officers entering a home in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence can prevent the perpetrator from returning to the address and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days by initially serving a notice on them.
The magistrates’ court must then hear the case for the Domestic Violence Protection Order within 48 hours of the notice being made. If granted, the order may last between a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days.
Det Supt Cullen added: “As well as improving immediate protection for victims and their children, this allows the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of a support agency. It also allows the police to look at the investigation in the cold light of day and work with the victim to arrive at the right outcome.
W”e will also be looking at other safeguarding measures that can be put in place. For example, by using analytical work to identify potential repeat offenders of domestic abuse, we can be ready to act sooner. This may mean increased patrols in the area able to respond quicker, briefing local officers so they are aware and personally visiting the potential perpetrator.
“We will also be promoting the use of body worn video where available when attending incidents of domestic abuse, and extra resources will be put in place the day following a match where a game falls on a weekend for example. This will consist of a team of police staff as well as dedicated investigative capability so that enquiries around domestic abuse incidents can be fast tracked.”
Warwickshire County Council’s domestic abuse manager, Sue Ingram, said: “National research has shown that the combination of heightened emotions and increased alcohol consumption during major sporting events is linked to a rise in reported incidents. Please remember that this does not make it any less serious or harmful – domestic abuse is never acceptable. We want people to know that support is available for anyone affected by domestic abuse and urge anyone with any concerns to get in touch with services who can help.”
Police and campaigners will also be using social media to inform, raise awareness and challenge the public’s views around domestic abuse. Follow @warkspolice on Twitter for more.
They are also promoting A Call to Men UK’s Youtube clip. This tells the story about a boy who is asked how he would feel if he was told he played football like a girl.
More information about domestic abuse is available for victims, perpetrators, friends and family, and young people on www.talk2someone.org.uk or by calling the Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 408 1552 or the freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence helpline, run by Women’s Aid and Refuge.