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Domestic abuse charities have issued a warning about the link between a rise in domestic abuse cases and England football matches, as the national team prepares to face-off against Germany on Tuesday evening.
The warnings come after the charity Refuge, which provides shelters for domestic abuse victims, reported a 61 per cent rise in calls to its 24-hour national helpline over the course of lockdown between March 2020 and March 2021.
A 2013 study by Lancaster University looked at the number of domestic abuse cases reported during the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
The study found that the risk of domestic abuse increased by 26 per cent when the England team won or drew and rose by 38 per cent when the national team lost.
At the start of the Euro 2020 matches, the charity Women's Aid tweeted a link to support for those in need and highlighted that football does not cause domestic abuse.
Women's Aid also urged football fans to call out sexist behaviour and to send a message that all types of domestic abuse, sexist behaviour and prejudice is unacceptable.
In 2014 Women's Aid developed the Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign to tackle this problem and to raise awareness of both domestic abuse and sexist attitudes linked to it.
Teresa Parker, head of communications for Women's Aid, said: "We know at Women's Aid that while football doesn't cause domestic abuse, big matches can be a catalyst for an uplift in reports, and an exacerbation of existing abuse."
Local councils are also issuing warnings about domestic abuse ahead of the Euro 2020 games. The Local Government Association, which represents councils across England and Wales, have raised awareness about helplines for victims as well as for abusers hoping to change their behaviour and bystanders who may be concerned about someone else.
"Football does not cause domestic abuse," said Cllr Nesil Caliskan who is the chair of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities board. "The behaviour and actions or abusers who exert power and control over their victims cause it.
"However, with research showing a clear link between football tournaments and rising instances of domestic abuse, there is a need to ensure people are aware of the potential signs of domestic abuse and where to go to report it or seek help."
She added: "Councils will continue to work closely with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, the government, the wider domestic abuse sector and partners to help tackle this important issue.
Ruth Davison, chief executive of Refuge, said: "While of course football tournaments do not cause abuse - abuse is a choice a perpetrator makes - they can exacerbate pre-existing abusive behaviours.
"Abuse doesn't come 'by appointment' - it happens all your round. But Refuge does want to reassure women that 365 days a year, come rain or shine, we are here for you, and can offer you the support you need."
If you're a victim looking to report abuse, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Or - if it is not safe to do so - visit the organisation's website and discreetly fill out a form.
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