The impact of the World Cup on abuse


Whilst many across the country celebrate the England team’s recent success at the FIFA World Cup, for others it could mean an escalation in domestic abuse.  

A recent study from Lancaster University has shown that when England lose a World Cup match, incidents of domestic violence increase by 38%. Perhaps even more shocking, incidents increased by 26% when England won a World Cup match.

This is why Solace have chosen to run the campaign titled #StopItComingHome.

The World Cup

Although football itself is not a cause of domestic violence, matches can cause anger and tension, especially when alcohol is consumed. Such circumstance can act as violent triggers for abusers, which can lead them to take out their aggression at home.

It is not only partners who can experience increased levels of abuse during football season, this spreads to the whole family. The NSPCC issued a warning at the start of the tournament after research showed that calls to its helpline soared by a third during the 2018 World Cup.

The chief executive of NSPCC, Sir Peter Wanless warned that the World Cup “will bring nervousness, fear and even violence” to many children living with domestic abuse. If you see or hear something worrying regarding a child while watching the football, you can reach out to the NSPCC helpline for confidential advice.

Domestic abuse

Women’s aid defines domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.

Domestic abuse is not just physical and verbal. It can include, but is not limited to:

  • Coercive behaviour – this is a defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim
  • Controlling behaviour –isolating, exploiting their resources and capacities, depriving them of the means needed for independence and regulating their everyday behaviour to make them subordinate.
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse – the use of verbal and social tactics to control someone’s way of thinking.
  • Financial or economic abuse – Withholding/stealing money and restricting the use of finances.
  • Harassment or stalking
  • Online or digital abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse

Although physical abuse is more easily identified, some psychological factors are harder to identify meaning victims do not always realise they are being abused. Non-physical abuse such as emotional and psychological abuse are hard to recognise because the abuse is spread throughout your everyday interactions and there often is not clear evidence. It also makes the abuse difficult to detect as there are often no isolated incidents to evidence.

Help and support

Our team of family lawyers are highly experienced in successfully obtaining domestic violence injunctions on behalf of partners, former partners and family members.

There are a number of organisations that provide all year-round support for victims of domestic abuse. They are:

The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Charlotte Dawe, Trainee Solicitor in the Family Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of December 2022.



Charlotte Dawe

Charlotte Dawe

Trainee Solicitor

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