Concerns have been raised about the increase in incidents of domestic violence during the FIFA World Cup, as new data shows an increase in inquiries about children being abused at home during the last tournament.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) issued the warning after research found contacts about domestic violence with its helpline rose by a third more than average monthly during the 2018 World Cup.
The NSPCC’s helpline received 1,060 child protection calls about domestic violence during the last tournament, while Childline, overseen by the NSPCC, saw a 17% increase in average monthly calls. domestic violence counseling sessions.
The NSPCC has warned that “hundreds of thousands of children could be at risk” as the Qatar World Cup kicks off on November 20.
Alcohol, betting and tension during the tournament could “act as potential triggers” for incidents of abuse or violence at home, the charity said.
A 13-year-old girl, who contacted Childline during the 2018 World Cup, said: “My brother gets very aggressive when he drinks, he yells at us for no reason and asks my mum for money.
“Today after the game against England he came home drunk and punched my mum in the face so I had to call the police. He’s been causing trouble for years and to be honest I I’m done with him.
The teenager said her brother scared her and her mother “all the time”.
It comes after local councils issued a stern domestic violence warning that told victims to support services as Euro 2020 kicked off last summer.
Leading domestic violence charities have said football itself does not trigger violence, but can aggravate pre-existing behaviors of an abusive partner.
Research found that the number of domestic abuse cases reported to Lancashire police during the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups jumped 38% on the days England lost. While incidents increased by 26% when the team won or drew.
A parent of a child who contacted the NSPCC helpline during the previous World Cup said: ‘My daughter’s best friend told me her dad was hitting her and her mum. He drinks heavily in the pub, then becomes abusive and violent when he returns home.
“They feel they have no way out because they depend on him financially and they fear he will punish them if anyone finds out about his behavior. I am worried about my daughter and can be identified if I tell child services. I do not know what to do.
Jess, whose biological father subjected the family to years of domestic abuse, said: “I remember the 1998 World Cup – the final was on my birthday. I don’t think he was a huge football fan, it was just another way of controlling us.
“Of course, if his team lost, we would feel all the effects. His mood would change, and my mom would be the one he would direct his anger at the most. We were still on eggshells, but when the football was on, the end seemed inevitable.
Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, has warned that the World Cup will “bring nervousness, fear and even violence” to many child victims of domestic violence.
Sir Peter added: “Anyone who hears or sees anything worrying about a child while watching football can contact the NSPCC helpline for confidential advice.
“Domestic violence can decimate a child’s confidence and sense of safety and without support it can have a devastating impact in the moment and in the long term.”
Anyone in need of help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7/365 on 0808 2000 247 or via their website. https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/