Football. It’s just a game right? Euro 2012 is just some men kicking some balls about, nothing to get worked up about.
Football generally, and especially tournaments such as Euro 2012, aren’t just a bit of fun. When you think of football violence though, what do you think of? Lads outside the pub having a bit of a scuffle? Fans at the match winding up the other team? Unfortunately, the victims of football violence are often hidden behind closed doors. They are the WAGS – the wives, girlfriends and even children of the football fans, angry at their team for missing that winning goal.
When England lost 4-1 to Germany in the 2010 World Cup, domestic abuse rose across England by a third. And that’s just the stuff that got reported. During Euro 2012, posters and leaflets are being circulated through many parts of the country in doctor’s surgeries, community centres, even pub toilets, trying to raise awareness of the problem.
I will say that again in case you didn’t read the caption – during one England World Cup match, West Yorkshire Police saw reports of domestic violence virtually double.
This isn’t OK.
It isn’t OK to hit your wife because your favourite football team lost. It isn’t OK to scare your children just because the ball hit the post.
Anyone who is a victim of any form of domestic violence should contact the Police – either on 101 if it is to report an incident which has taken place, or if you are in immediate danger, on 999. If you are a violent man, wanting support to stop, call the National Helpline For Men Wanting To Change on 0808 8024040.