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New Research into The Link Between Domestic Violence and Football Suggests Their Association Is More Complex Than What Viral Campaigns Show

13 August 2018 Written by Sutton Mattocks Category: Blog

Following the recent debate over whether football is a trigger for domestic violence, a new study suggests that previous research lacks reliable data and over-simplifies the issue.

Amongst the flood of nostalgic, witty and sarcastic social media posts commenting on England’s performance in the World Cup, one campaign stood out in its severity of tone and achieved viral status. It was a statistic about domestic violence, asserting that: “domestic abuse rates increase by 38% when England lose.”

The figure was taken from research conducted at Lancaster University back in 2013, which found that domestic abuse cases reported to the Lancaster Police Force during the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cup games rose by 38% on days when England lost, and 26% when they won or drew a match.

On re-examination of the issue, further research has highlighted the importance of considering other influences alongside football. These factors include the consumption of alcohol and other behaviour-altering substances, as well as an increase in gambling activities, unemployment and austerity.

A new study conducted by Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Bristol, which used focus groups and interviews in England and Scotland, have cautioned people against associating an isolated event like football with an increase in DVA (domestic violence and abuse). The study’s findings suggest that this mispresents DVA, when abuse should be considered within the context of a pattern of ongoing behaviour.

Scottish Parliament passed a bill earlier this year which criminalises abusive behaviour, making Scotland a world-leader in DVA legislation.

Original DVA and football campaign poster can be found here.

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