The World Cup is always an exciting and emotional roller-coaster, especially for England. No matter who you follow though and how well or badly, your country performs, taking out your frustrations or emotions on those around will not be tolerated.
For many people watching matches, having a drink, and cheering on the team will only ever mean just that. But for some people, they will be living in fear of violence and of anger both when out and at home.
Detective Superintendent Jon Roberts said: “We know that domestic abuse isn’t solely connected to football but we do know there is an increase in incidents throughout major tournaments. So, this year, West Mercia Police will be leading the way when tackling domestic abuse throughout the FIFA World Cup. ‘Operation Bow’ will see our officers deliver activities, operations and initiatives within local policing areas as well as support the national ‘White Ribbon’ campaign.
“When we are called to incidents of a domestic nature, our priority rightly will always be the safety and wellbeing of victims and we will always encourage the support of police action against the perpetrator.
“But we are realistic, and we know that will not always be the case. Where we cannot secure an immediate arrest or charge against a perpetrator, we will proactively use the powers available to us in order to safeguard victims throughout the tournament and into Christmas when reports rise as well.
“I want to be really clear; domestic abuse is a force wide priority all year-round but sadly we do know that there is an increase in domestic incidents during major football tournaments.
“If you're a survivor of domestic abuse, we hear you. You are not alone.
“I say this to you if you’re worried about your own behaviour and have noticed yourself acting aggressively towards other people; you also have a responsibility to help your family members or partner and change your behaviour. Please seek help through us or our partners before it gets out of control. If you think your behaviour is crossing the line into abuse, call the Respect Phoneline on 0808 802 4040 to get the help you need.
“If you are concerned about the next few weeks, or already experiencing abuse or know someone who is there are many ways we can be reached, even if its normally hard to.
“If you are in danger and you can't ask for help out loud dial 999, listen to the instructions carefully and, when prompted, dial '55' on your handset.
“We want everyone to enjoy the football and Christmas, but we will not stand by while people are abused at home or while out for the night.
“Remember, abuse can vary, be subtle and take many forms. If you feel you that you are maybe in a ‘cycle of abuse’ you can report it here https://orlo.uk/g23KA
“If you just need a chat our partners and charities are available to listen.
“In an emergency always call 999.”
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I understand the World Cup is a time of celebration and joy as many of you will be watching your national team compete on the biggest stage. However, this is also a time where some people in West Mercia will live in fear. Sadly, there is a correlation between England losing a game of football and an increase in domestic violence - I say to perpetrators there is never an excuse to be violent.
“I want to live in a society where domestic violence is given the red card, but to do this a cultural shift needs to take place. By tackling the problem at the root, we can reduce the number of victims by challenging and changing the behaviour of those in society. As PCC I remain committed to protecting all victims and survivors and will do all I can to tackle the issue and ensure victims not only get the support they need but justice they deserve.”
Below are some numbers of our partner agencies who are available to listen if you need support:
Victim Advice Line 0800 952 3000
West Mercia Women's Aid Helpline (available to help all victims) 0800 980 3331
Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
Respect Phonline 0808 802 4040
The Mix (for under 25s) 0808 808 4994
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428