Figures show domestic abuse complaints increase on football Sundays

Domestic abuse complaints are at their highest on a Sunday.
Domestic abuse complaints are at their highest on a Sunday.
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Complaints of domestic abuse are at their highest on a Sunday and soar when there are football matches on that day, a sample of police callouts has shown.

Figures published in the Times showed that the average number of abuse calls per day in February was 167, but Sunday was the only day when the number rose above 200 consistently.

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The highest number of calls in February relating to domestic abuse came on February 24, when Rangers defeated Hamilton 5 0 before Celtic beat Motherwell 4-1.

There were 234 calls that day, when both of the Old Firm matches were televised.

Scottish Women’s Aid told that paper that domestic abusers believe that they have ‘cultural permission’ to carry out crimes following football matches or consuming alcohol.

The charity also said that this attitude is pervasive in courtrooms, where abusers are more likely to receive a lighter sentence if defence lawyers argue the abuse took place after a boozing session or football game.

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Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: Our culture has always forgiven violence and abuse in certain contexts, or at least viewed it less seriously, and football and alcohol are among those circumstances.

“There is no evidence that football is a causal factor in domestic abuse. We attribute the spike in domestic abuse calls when there is a big football match on to increased police vigilance.

“But there is a cultural permission given as people expect there to be violence around a football match, or when alcohol is involved.

“We can see this in our courts, where abusers get dealt with differently in those contexts. The solicitor will say the perpetrator has signed up for an alcohol treatment programme and will promise to change their behaviour.”