Fans are being urged to show domestic abuse the red card as the football season enters its final leg – but with supporters only able to watch matches from home.
The Premiership got back underway after being put on hold since March because of Covid-19 restrictions.
But with games being played behind closed doors as part of plans to minimise the spread of the virus – millions of supporters will now be viewing matches on screens at home only.
Research shows that incidents of domestic abuse rise sharply during major football tournaments by up to 25 per cent.
In response to this, Stafford Borough Council’s Community Safety Partnership has teamed up with local partners including Staffordshire Police, New Era (domestic abuse service), the Police, Crime and Fire Commissioner for Staffordshire and local authorities across the county to deliver some important messages.
The new campaign ‘Football is coming home’ raises awareness of the support services available for both victims and perpetrators during these unprecedented times. A useful contact card will be distributed across the borough by local PSCO’s and a range of online messages will go out via social media.
Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, said: “We know there is a link between incidents of domestic abuse and football – especially at major tournaments - and we want to raise awareness of the support services available to victims.
“It is not acceptable for someone to fear the outcome of a football match knowing that it could be the trigger point for physical or mental abuse in their own home. So please do not suffer in silence - talk to the police or domestic violence support groups who will be able to help."
Victims, individuals and families who have concerns can report abuse and get support from New Era’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 303 3778 or access their 24/7 live chat facility at www.new-era.uk
The campaign also encourages perpetrators of domestic abuse to get help from New Era Domestic Abuse Service on 01785 601690, an organisation which offers specialist domestic violence prevention services.
Deputy Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Sue Arnold, who leads on the domestic abuse portfolio on behalf of the Commissioner, said: “Victims of domestic abuse continue to suffer during the pandemic, with many feeling unsure where to access help. We’ve invested even more into services to ensure victims get the support they need, when they need it.
“Football coming into the home could add to already heightened tensions for some, and during major tournaments, we generally see a sharp rise in domestic abuse cases. We’re working hard with our local clubs, especially Burton Albion FC, who are one of our domestic abuse champions, to promote the message that domestic abuse is never acceptable.”
Press Release No 5652