Football: Stop it coming home
Updated: Jul 27
Being a football fan is hard work. There are so many ups and downs that come with supporting a football team. Some people say “it’s just a game” but when you’re there watching your team you do get wrapped up in the moment. It’s hard not to play each ball with them. When you can literally smell the grass and the sweat it’s hard not to become completely absorbed in what is happening in front of you. When you get to take photos with and meet players with either congratulations or commiserations when the game is through it is this most thrilling thing. When it’s a crunch match and your nerves are on their very last thread it’s hard not to stress. When your favourite player scores it’s hard not to scream as loud as you can. When your team are doing terribly, and every pass seems to go anywhere but where it’s supposed too it's hard not to turn to the person behind you and moan about it. It’s hard not to feel utter euphoria when your team wins a game and utter devastation when they lose. I should know, I am a football fan. My nickname at the club I support is Banshee as I can get quite loud, especially when things are not good.
The highs and lows are what make football such a compelling game for some, including myself. The drama is what keeps me hooked. The knowledge that a win can keep you safe in the league for another year and a loss can mean relegation to the league below makes it unbearable (my team were relegated this year so I know about this!). When football hits the big time with international competitions, things can get so much bigger. The noise is immense, like a wall. Watching on TV can make it hard to appreciate just how loud it gets. Being there in person is an overwhelming experience for the noise alone is just something else. Rivalries are much more intense. The highs and the lows are amplified when a nation is riding on the team’s back. With England playing in both the Women’s World Cup this summer (2023) and the Euros (Men’s) in 2024, international football is back!
Sadly, not everyone is excited about the upcoming women’s world cup or the men’s euros in 2024. For victims of domestic abuse, international competitions as well as domestic competitions increase their risk of being subjected to violence. When England lose, victims of domestic abuse also lose. Football results put victims of domestic abuse at risk of harm, especially if they are negative. Domestic abuse increases by 38% when the England team lose and shockingly 16% when England win. It is important to note that domestic abuse increases before and after games. During games it decreases as often the perpetrators are at the games or away from their victims (Wagstaff, 2022). Victims of domestic abuse cannot win with either positive or negative football results. The women’s world cup is around the corner and while there is excitement about the tournament, victims of domestic abuse will be dreading it.
There is little to no research about the impact that Women’s Football has on cases of domestic abuse. This is because Women’s Football hasn’t had the coverage that the men’s game has. We know that domestic abuse increases when the Men’s National Team plays so it would make sense that this would happen when the women play as well, especially as the women’s team won the Euros last summer. With more focus on them now and a bigger audience the impact upon domestic abuse rates could increase. Research on this would be helpful as it would give us an idea of the demographic of those who are at risk during women’s football. Women’s football has a big LGBTQ+ following and therefore it would also give an idea of whether football increases the risk to those in the LGBTQ+ community as well.
The LGBTQ+ Community & Domestic Abuse
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. It doesn’t matter what you look like, the colour of your skin, your sexuality or your gender identity, you could be a victim of domestic abuse. While we know this, the lack of research into how the LGBTQ+ community and how they are affected by domestic abuse is incredibly frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when there are events that we know have a large LGBTQ+ following and there is no research into whether these events affect domestic abuse within the community.
Here at NDAS it is our strong belief that everyone should be able access support and our services. We understand that anyone can be a victim and that your background doesn’t matter. We are here for everyone.
NDAS LGBQT+ Diversity Lead
Wagstaff, L. (2022) What is the relationship between domestic abuse and football?, The Behavioural Insights Team. Available at: https://www.bi.team/blogs/what-is-the-relationship-between-domestic-abuse-and-football/ (Accessed: 13 June 2023).