People across Greater Manchester are being urged to give domestic abuse the red card and End The Fear ahead of Euro 2012 after research showed more than 2,000 incidents were reported during the 2010 World Cup.
Over the eight days that England played football matches and the days following each England game at the 2010 World Cup, a total of 2,022 Domestic Abuse incidents were recorded, which is an increase of 15.4% compared to the same period in 2009. Previous research has also shown that incidents can increase by up to 30 per cent on England match days*.
Supporting the End The Fear campaign are the 10 local authorities, Greater Manchester Police, the Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline and Greater Manchester Public Health Network, who have come together to urge domestic abuse victims, their friends and families, as well as those committing the abuse, to seek help and support in the run up to and during Euro 2012.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, GMP’s lead on Domestic Abuse said: “While we realise that many of the football fans in Greater Manchester are law abiding citizens, there are a number of people who use the tensions created by football matches, to justify abusing their partner.
“Statistics show that violence increases around major football matches due to the heightened tensions and increase in alcohol consumption, so we want to urge victims, their friends and families not to wait, but to seek help and advice immediately before the abuse escalates.
“The End The Fear campaign will see Greater Manchester Police crackdown on abusive behaviour during the tournament by carrying out bail and curfew checks, monitoring pubs and will also advise potential victims on how they can protect themselves.
“We will have specialist domestic abuse officers and dedicated response cars on duty at key times during the tournament to ensure that full support is available to those in need. Our partner agencies also provide valuable help for victims.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy Euro 2012 safely and are not looking to stop fans celebrating or commiserating their team’s performance, we just ask that they act in an appropriate and respectable manner. Support services are available for them to get help, but if they choose to become violent or abusive then we will arrest them and ensure that they are brought to justice. Our priority is to protect victims.”
A hard-hitting poster incorporating a bloodied football shirt, including tear-off slips with the Domestic Abuse Helpline number, will be displayed in locations such as hospitals, doctor’s surgeries and licensed premises.
Information cards will also be distributed providing domestic abuse victims, their friends and families and perpetrators with some key contact numbers for support services.
Karen Harrison, Domestic Abuse Helpline, said: “Our helpline, which has run for over 30 years, sees an increase in calls around major sporting events and often incidences are related to people drinking more.
“We are very encouraged that Greater Manchester as a region has come together with a strong voice against domestic abuse during Euro 2012. Our message is seek help as soon as possible, even if it is just to find out your options, and remember that local support is available. If you are a victim of domestic abuse or know someone who is then call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525.”
For more information about the services available to help stop domestic abuse, people can visit: www.endthefear.co.uk or follow @EndtheFear on Twitter. Those responsible abusing their partners can also get help to stop by contacting the Respect Phoneline: 0808 802 4040.