While everyone was rooting for the national side ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final, Tory frontbencher Lord Wolfson of Tredegar said today that alcohol-fuelled violence in the home rose when there were big football matches.
England’s popular football chant “It’s Coming Home” can therefore serve as a threat to victims of domestic abuse, the justice minister argued.
He reminded Parliament of this darker aspect as the Three Lions prepare to take on Italy at Wembley, after seeing off Denmark 2-1.
It will be England’s first major tournament final since 1966, when the country’s team lifted the World Cup.
Speaking at Westminster, Lord Wolfson said: “We know that domestic abuse goes up when there are big football matches and while we all want England to win we must remember those for whom ‘It’s Coming Home’ is a threat often accompanied by alcohol and violence.”
Domestic abuse charity Refuge has previously urged victims to seek support as the England men’s team progressed through the tournament, amid concerns over the link between the often hidden crime and football games.
Match increases family violence
Research from the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance indicated a match increased the risk of family violence.
The study suggested that although domestic abuse declined during the two-hour period when a game is played, it started to increase afterwards and peaked between 10 and 12 hours later.
Separately, a police watchdog has called for urgent action to tackle the crime “epidemic” against women and girls.
A report this week by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) estimated 1.6m women in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the year to March 2020.
Councils, schools, health and social care bodies and all areas of the criminal justice system must work together to address the problem as police “cannot solve this alone”, the report warned.
Cases are reported to have spiked during the pandemic with victims at greater risk because restrictions make it even harder to escape abusers.
Free and confidential support is available from Refuge’s 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, with digital support via livechat Monday-Friday 3pm-10pm via www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.