Football is England’s national sport, and one that’s capable of triggering huge emotions and tribal support among its followers.
This is particularly true when it comes to the national side, with recent tournaments having seen England go close to success and been spoken about in glowing terms in relation to bringing football fans of different clubs together.
However, shocking research has also revealed that violent domestic abuse incidents tend to increase when England play, regardless of whether the Three Lions win or lose. But do the figures tell us, and what can you do if you’re a victim of domestic abuse?
What Does the Research Say?
The above findings were uncovered by the University of Lancaster, who found that violent domestic abuse incidents increase by 38% when the England national side lose matches (such as the 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to France in the 2022 World Cup last November).
This statistic is alarming enough, but even more worryingly, such incidents also increase by 26% when the team wins or draws.
This suggests that the match itself is a trigger for violent incidents and outbursts (rather than the final result), with increased levels of emotion, adrenaline and alcohol consumption fuelling abuse and exacerbating existing patterns of coercive or controlling behaviour.
Understanding Domestic Abuse
Before we explore these findings further and ask what you can do in the event of domestic abuse, it’s important to understand what we mean by the term and how it presents itself.
The common perception of domestic abuse, which is primarily perpetrated by men against women, involves physical or sexual violence. However, it can also incorporate verbal and emotional abuse, as well as psychological torment.
Patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour also fit the description of domestic abuse, where on partner seeks to gain power over the other’s behaviour, decisions and overall life.
Understanding this broader description of domestic abuse is crucial, whether you’re experiencing this yourself or have a friend or loved one you believe may be suffering at the hands of their partner.
Recognising the signs may help you to seek help and guidance, as you look to safely remove yourself from the control of an abuser or get assistance on behalf of your loved one.
What to Do if You’re Suffering from Domestic Abuse
It’s important at this stage to recognise that while England football games aren’t a direct cause of domestic abuse, they may trigger isolated instances of verbal or physical abuse or serve as a catalyst for more severe abuse over time.
Remember, it’s also known that Brits drink considerably higher volumes of alcohol when England are playing. During the recent WC game against Senegal in the round of 16, it was forecast that some 15 million pints would be sold nationwide, with this suggesting that alcohol may be a more significant trigger for increased instances of domestic abuse.
Regardless of the triggers, the question that remains is what can you do if you’re a victim of domestic abuse? Well, instances of violence can be reported to the police after they occur, with this potentially opening up avenues to additional support through charities and refuges.
Similarly, you can speak to your doctor or health visitor where appropriate, while female sufferers can call the Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline (run by Refuge) directly on 0808 2000 247.
Obviously, if you suffer significant harm or head injuries as a result of physical abuse, you may also be able to pursue potential brain injury claims. This can help you to cope with the physical or emotional impact of abuse, while compensating for any associated loss of earnings.
The key is to seek out help as quickly and proactively as possible, ideally before the abuse begins to escalate or patterns of coercive control have been established.
MindOwl Founder – My own struggles in life have led me to this path of understanding the human condition. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy before completing a master’s degree in psychology at Regent’s University London. I then completed a postgraduate diploma in philosophical counselling before being trained in ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy).
I’ve spent the last eight years studying the encounter of meditative practices with modern psychology.