Domestic abuse incidents expected to soar during England World Cup match
The Crown Prosecution Service has said there is no excuse for domestic abuse, ahead of England’s opening World Cup match against Iran, as they warn the number of incidents is likely to soar.
Chief prosecutor Kate Brown said “stark” figures uncovered the “shocking reality” that incidents of domestic abuse increase following England games, and warned that perpetrators would be punished.
She said that Monday’s game will for many bring with it “fear and trauma”, as data published by the National Centre for Domestic Violence last year showed domestic abuse incidents increased by 26% when England play, and 38% if England lose, and 11% the next day whether they win or lose.
Ms Brown said: “It is shocking that there is a link between domestic abuse and international football events, and concerning that at a time when many people are going to be excited and get to enjoy all that the World Cup brings, for some it brings fear and trauma.
“The reality for victims of domestic abuse is that they will not be looking forward to this event.
“And our message is, there is no excuse for domestic abuse and no hiding behind football as a reason for such cowardly and cruel behaviour.
“We take these crimes extremely seriously and we will prosecute abusers to ensure that justice is delivered.”
Ms Brown added: “I’d advise people to reach out to support agencies and encourage them to report the matter to the police, even though we understand it is often difficult to come forward.
“To those concerned about the safety of friends and relatives, I’d say just be aware that they might be reaching out at this time or need support and I’d also encourage them to report any specific concerns.”
Ms Brown said the CPS had come “a long way” in how it handles domestic abuse cases, and now have trained prosecutors to advise police and make charging decisions.
During the World Cup those prosecutors will be available on call 24 hours a day.
At peak times such as this, including during the festive period, the CPS Direct team can expect to receive up to 70 to 80 calls an hour from police stations asking for charging decisions.
Domestic abuse incidents are said to make up a large proportion of the CPS’s workload, and they said such cases were “a priority”, with prosecutors focused on building evidence-led prosecutions which allow cases to go to court without the victim needing to give evidence.
“We and the police now appreciate that these actions are criminal offences, they are very serious, and they should be prosecuted,” Ms Brown said.
“But I think there are still barriers.
“I think that people assume that these offences only happen in certain socio-economic categories, or in certain cultures, and that’s not the case – victims of domestic abuse come from all walks of life.
“What we do know is it is far more widespread than people understand, and has a long-lasting, significant impact of the victims and the households, particularly the children, where domestic abuse takes place.”
Ms Brown said she believed the “law is beginning to move with the times” and pointed to legislation brought in in 2015 criminalising controlling or coercive behaviour, and the more recent move to criminalise non-fatal strangulation and suffocation.
The CPS lead on football-related offending, Marianne Connally, also told the PA news agency: “We want people to enjoy the game and to be passionate about it but to avoid crossing the line into that criminal behaviour.
“It’s very easy to look at and focus on the things that happen inside the stadiums, but we should all be aware that there will be potential victims and hidden criminality within that domestic environment – and there will be certainly within the next 24 hours.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub