New PSA shows darker side of World Cup fandom

Dirty Tackle

When England loses a soccer match, domestic abuse significantly increases, according to a new PSA. 

Tender Education and Arts is running the #StandUpWorldCup campaign across Twitter and other social media. The movement's PSA shows a woman watching a soccer match. She is clearly devastated that the team lost, but for reasons beyond team pride. As the screen goes black, a text slate explains that domestic abuse rose 38 percent when England was knocked out of the World Cup.

The statistic comes from a study conducted at Lancaster University in 2013, in which researchers found that domestic abuse rises 38 percent when England loses a World Cup match.

Led by criminologist Stuart Kirby, the researchers analyzed monthly and daily domestic abuse incidents reported to a police force in the northwest of England during television broadcasts of the 2002, 2006, and 2010 World Cups. Incidents of domestic abuse rose 26 percent when the team lost or the game ended in a draw, the study found.

A separate study of the 2010 World Cup revealed similar numbers: a 27.7 percent rise in incidents of abuse when England won a game, and 31.5 percent when it lost.

Police in Essex took extra precautions leading into the World Cup in Brazil, according to The Guardian:

"In the past few weeks, officers have drawn up a list of 117 high-risk and high-frequency perpetrators – 110 men and seven women – using intelligence drawn from domestic abuse data, risk assessments and football violence data."

Officers visited the homes of the 117, reminding them not to "vent their feelings on their partners."

"One of the things that we are looking at is around learned behaviour and this is causing us concern. Are there now people who have seen their parent behave in this way during tournaments who now think it is acceptable for them to do the same?" Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said to the British paper.

"There's a mixture of factors that come together during a World Cup tournament; many people drink, there is the emotional stress of the game, and there is a whole issue around competitiveness and testosterone levels. Most people will watch the game and will never do anything violent but a small minority will become deeply aggressive," he said. Police in Manchester and Northumbria created similar task forces, according to The Independent.

Other social media and billboard campaigns around the U.K. have asked witnesses to "Blow the whistle on domestic abuse."

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