By Sean-Paul Doran
As Euro 2012 fever spreads this month, Manchester is being urged to give domestic abuse the red card and End The Fear ahead of England's first match in the tournament.
Research has shown that instances of domestic abuse can rise by anything up to 30% on England match days and Greater Manchester Police are launching their End The Fear campaign to highlight the issue.
The ten local authorities, the Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline, the Greater Manchester Public Health Network, and GMP have joined forces to urge domestic abuse victims, their friends and families, and the abusers themselves, to seek help and support throughout 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.
“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.”
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 - an increase of 15.4% compared to the same period in 2009.
It’s believed that the heightened tensions and increased alcohol consumption that tends to be associated with sporting events such as this can lead to an increase in abusive domestic behaviour.
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. Those responsible for abusing their partners can also get help to stop by contacting the Respect Phoneline: 0808 802 4040.