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Study links World Cup to domestic violence

World Cup soccer is an exciting and fun event for many viewers around the globe. But for victims of domestic violence, the World Cup may be a real threat to their safety.

According to British domestic violence expert Paula Nicolson of Royal Holloway, University of London, the high emotions associated with watching World Cup games, alcohol, and a propensity for violence create a dangerous cocktail that can put victims at risk. She says that women who are in abusive relationships need to be aware of the risk that they face during this time.

“Each case will be different, but women need to be more aware that they are at risk during this period. Women who live with violent partners get used to their violent behavior, which they may not have labeled domestic violence,” she said. “With increased publicity about domestic abuse during the World Cup, there is likely to be an increase in people coming forward to report the violence, but it is usually only after the attack has happened.”

And statistically, many domestic attacks have occurred in England during the World Cup. During the 2006 World Cup, for example, on days when England played a match, instances of domestic violence spiked 25 percent.

In order to protect themselves, Nicolson offers victims of domestic violence this advice: “For some women, it may be a case of staying out with friends or family members on England game nights or arranging for their children to go to a friend’s house for a sleepover. If that is not possible, it is crucial that women have relevant phone numbers on hand and know where to get help. Simple things like knowing where your mobile phone and car keys are could make all the difference. Many women feel the stigma of domestic abuse, so don’t feel able to talk to friends or family about the situation. But if they can overcome these feelings, it might be advisable to get their friends or family to call them to check up on them during or after a game.”

(Source: Why some women have real reason to fear the World Cup. Retrieved month day, year from www.rhul.ac.uk.)