Image of the 'no more injury time' campaign by Solace showing women on the football pitch in the newly designed shirt.

The dark side of football tournaments: rise in domestic violence

With the Euro 2024 football tournament reaching its conclusion, millions are exhilarated at the prospect of England winning.

But for some, the fear of another unsuccessful tournament lingers.

A report released in 2013 showed a rise in domestic abuse by 38% when England lose at a major tournament and 26% if England play – figures that have not changed in a decade.

Last month, an alternative England Football shirt was released as part of a campaign by Four Nine and creative agency The Wild by Jungle in partnership with Solace and the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV), charities supporting women suffering from domestic abuse.

The ‘No More Injury Time’ national campaign has been set up to support domestic abuse survivors during the tournament and bring light to this issue.

Rosie Okumbe, senior communications officer and lead on the campaign said: “We know that domestic abuse happens all year round but we really wanted to draw attention to the 38% increase.

“It’s incredibly concerning to see such a spike, but not a surprise to us as it fits with what our staff see around football matches more broadly.”

The shirt included in the campaign is the ‘Shirt 38’ and looks like a classic England football shirt but has some important changes.

'No more injury time' campaign shirt design as part of the new campaign about domestic abuse ahead of the European Championship 2024
NO MORE INJURY TIME: The new domestic violence support campaign Image credit: Four Nine

The three lions are facing the wrong way and with their tails facing down, not up showing that the lion is feeling defensive and aggressive.

Also logos for Four Nine’s ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ partners, Solace and the National Centre for Domestic Violence are placed top right and on the shirt sleeves acting as sponsors to the club.

Data released in another study showed that on average, domestic abuse between current partners peaks eight to ten hours after the game and these effects are driven by games with an earlier kick-off and when the abuser is under the influence of alcohol.

Okumbe explained that while domestic abuse disproportionately affects women, it is not just a women’s issue.

“We want everyone to get involved in the conversation, and we hope that if more people know what the signs are, they can recognise abuse when they see it and call it out, offer help, or even question their own behaviour.

“Our focus is on supporting survivors rather than research, but we do know anecdotally from our front line workers’ experiences that we have supported survivors who have specific experience of their partner being abusive around football matches – particularly when their team loses.

“We also know that women often don’t report incidents immediately, if ever. On average, it takes 35 incidents before a survivor of abuse will make a report to the police, so many women live for years with abuse before gaining the confidence to report it.”

Campaigns like these bring light to all kinds of domestic abuse including some lesser-known tactics, such as waterboarding, which abusers use because it leaves no visible marks.

Flo Finch, content creator and domestic abuse advocate, features in the ‘No More Injury Time’ launch and has drawn attention to this on her social media.

Finch said: “Being a part of this campaign means so much to me because not only am I a survivor but I am an avid football fan.

“I cannot bear to think that something that is meant to be joyful, exciting and helps to connect us all, actually can cause profound and lasting damage to others.

“My hope is that women who are struggling with a perpetrator during this tournament and after see this campaign and know there are so many people who are fighting for them without even knowing who they are.”

Data released from the Office of National Statistics estimated that 1.4 million women experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2023.

Those needing advice or support regarding this topic should use the helplines below:

Solace: 0808 802 5565 OR email [email protected]

NCDV: 0800 970 2070 OR text NCDV to 60777

Featured image credit: Four Nine

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