Domestic violence and football: The campaigns fighting for change


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As the country follows the England football team's success in the European Championships, spirits are high. However, while there might be a lot to love about the beautiful game, those living in fear of domestic violence are facing increased risks.

Given the irrefutable link between homelessness and domestic violence, in this week’s blog, we’re exploring the impact football can have on those living in fear of domestic abuse and the importance of the campaigns fighting to make a difference. 

What’s the problem?

We know that football doesn’t cause domestic violence, but there is evidence to suggest that big tournaments like the Euros can make existing abuse worse, as well as more frequent.

According to a recent study by Lancaster University, whether or not the home team wins matters. For example, in the event that the England team wins or draws, incidents of domestic violence increase by 26%. If they lose, that statistic rises to 38%.

There’s no clear reason why this might be the case, but heightened emotions, increased alcohol intake, and the social dynamics of fan support could all potentially play a part.

Those campaigning for change

A number of organisations have highlighted this issue, with many charities ‘bracing’ themselves for rising calls for help during the Euros. Leeds Women’s Aid, for example, expressed concern about the fact that it’s very difficult for victims to stay out of harm's way, as more people choose to stay at home to watch the match rather than head out with friends.

This June, Women’s Aid launched its ‘No More Years of Hurt’ campaign, building on the crucial awareness it raised during the World Cup with ‘He’s Coming Home'. In addition, there’s the ‘No more injury time’ campaign involving Solace Women’s Aid and the National Centre for Domestic Violence, supported by various content creators, influencers, and volunteers.

The hope is that, with levels of violence against women now at their highest, the government will start to make this issue a priority.

The link between domestic violence and homelessness

In some cases, people find themselves homeless as a result of the domestic violence and abuse they’ve experienced. For others, the very fact that they’re facing homelessness leads them into a cycle of abusive relationships.

In terms of the statistics, it’s difficult to know for sure just what the scale of the problem is. Many of those fleeing from, or experiencing, domestic violence are part of the ‘hidden homeless’, fearful of seeking support and leading an uncertain existence from day to day. With support services and available accommodation stretched to the limit, something must change. 

It’s vital that we shine as much light on the trauma that results from domestic violence and ensure that those at risk know where they can turn for support. We’re continuously working with other charities and organisations who can provide the specialist support that the people we work with need as we work to break the vicious cycle of homelessness.

If you’d like to support our work here at Simon on the Streets or get involved in one of our upcoming events, just get in touch.

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