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Does football really trigger domestic violence?

August 7, 2018 1:10 AM
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Researchers say that the link between the game and domestic violence has not been based on reliable data and should be discounted.

Researchers have looked at claims that Old Firm and England World Cup matches spark an increase in domestic violence.

But they concluded the perceived links lacked reliable data and failed to recognise abuse as a pattern of ongoing behaviour.

Dr Nancy Lombard, reader in sociology and social policy at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "All stakeholders had concerns about the reliability and implications of data suggesting a causal link between football and domestic violence and abuse.

"Participants highlighted concerns about the existing evidence and the need to view violence and abuse as a pattern of ongoing behaviour, which cannot be reduced to an incident associated with a particular event such as a football match.

"Specialist DVA service providers were concerned that focusing on football masks the underlying causes and potentially offers perpetrators excuses for their abusive behaviour.

"Research which suggests potential links between DVA (domestic violence and abuse) and factors such as football or alcohol has proliferated, and links between them may be misinterpreted, misrepresented and misunderstood."

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Glasgow and the University of Bristol used focus groups and interviews conducted in Scotland and England for the study.

They also said that previous studies had "over-simplified" the issue of domestic violence, discounting a range of other factors such as the large number of men who watch the sport and increased policing on match days.

The researchers said more should be done to promote anti-violence messages through sport and that football clubs should highlight the work of DVA services and messages about non-abusive relationships.


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