FOR most people, the World Cup is an opportunity to socialise and enjoy the excitement of international football in a fun way.
However, for victims of domestic violence the competition can be a scary few weeks as the threat of abuse dramatically increases.
Each time there is a major football tournament, cases of abuse within the home soar due to the dangerous mix of high passions and alcohol.
Olwen Kelly, director of Swindon Women’s Aid, said: “Unfortunately, every time we see a tournament like this there is a huge spike in the cases of domestic violence.
“It is something caused by a mixture of the excitement of big matches, often combined with the consumption of large quantities of alcohol.
“Obviously, England games are the worst but it doesn’t matter what the result is.
“If England have done really well then the abuser may well be really hyped up but obviously if they have lost then they are feeling down. In these situations the smallest thing can trigger an incident.”
Wiltshire Police have said there will be extra staff on duty during England games to deal with any rise of incidents.
Olwen says whether people chosen to drink at the pub or at home the risks of domestic violence are heightened whenever alcohol is involved.
She said: “We know that alcohol is not the reason for domestic abuse but it is most certainly a contributory factor. Abuse can take many forms but when alcohol is involved then we will often see violence.”
Women’s Aid has issued advice ahead of the World Cup with regards to domestic abuse and reminded victims that help is always available.
Olwen said: “I think the normal warnings apply when it comes to drinking alcohol during the World Cup. Everyone should make sure they know their limits and be sensible.
“For those being abused we would tell them to be aware of the warning signs when an incident is about to occur. Most of the people we deal with would tell you there are tell-tale signs so they should take note.
“If they suspect trouble, then our emergency helpline is always available, 24 hours a day.
“However, if it is an emergency then the first call should always be 999.”
If you are subjected to abuse or fear an imminent incident, the helpline for Swindon Women’s Aid is 01793 610610.