FOOTBALL’S link to “masculinity, violence, sexism” could be a factor in the rise in domestic abuse cases during big matches, a report has found.
Watching televised sport which features “non-scripted” violence like football or boxing may lead to more attacks in the home, usually by men on their female partners.
Justice secretary Michael Matheson says the findings give a “clearer picture” of the problem and pledged to end the “misery” of victims.
The Scottish Government commissioned experts at Glasgow University and Glasgow Caledonian University to examine previous studies into the relationship between matches and higher levels of abuse cases.
The new paper, published by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, said that earlier research had revealed there was an increase in domestic abuse on the day of Rangers versus Celtic games. One of the report’s authors, Dr Oona Brooks of Glasgow University, said: “Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling behaviour rather than a discreet incident. Linking its occurrence to a particular football match or sporting event may simply reinforce the idea that it is an infrequent act, triggered only at these times.”
Reports of domestic abuse can rise between 13 per cent and 138.8 per cent on the day of an Old Firm clash, the study said, with the increase dependent on factors such as the day the match is played and its outcome.
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The report added: “Findings may be impacted upon by the times of day measured and whether matches took place at weekends where both alcohol consumption and reports of domestic abuse made to the police are known to increase substantially.”
It went on to state that “despite the limitations” of earlier studies, “they do demonstrate a relationship between the days of certain football matches (particularly Old Firm fixtures), and the number of recorded domestic abuse incidents.”
The report found that previous research suggests that the link between domestic abuse and football “may exist due to their shared association with particular forms of masculinity, violence and sexism”.
It added: “The televised viewing of sports where violence takes place but is non-scripted [such as boxing, football and hockey] may lead to greater hostility and increased violent outcomes in spectators than sports where it is scripted [such as professional wrestling].”
Mr Matheson said: “I welcome the findings of this report which give us a clearer picture of the complex relationship between football and domestic abuse.
“The Scottish Government is absolutely clear that there is no excuse and no place for domestic abuse in Scotland, and only this week announced our plans to consult on a specific domestic abuse offence.
“We know the misery this crime can bring and are determined to end the suffering of victims across Scotland.”
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