Anti-domestic violence services upped for Euro games

"Stade des Lumières" in Lyon, France, where Euro 2016 is currently playing out. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Stade des Lumières in Lyon, France, where Euro 2016 is currently playing out. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Police have warned that domestic violence could almost double in Croydon homes during the Euro 2016 games and are boosting their services over June.

They have organised for a rapid response car scheme, staffed by domestic violence control officers, to be on hand to travel to potential incidents.

Police say football fans often get angry when their team fails during major competitions.

A combination of alcohol, poorly managed anger, stress and the warm weather are contributing factors to an increase in violence they say.

Councillor Hamida Ali, the council’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said: “No-one should have to face domestic abuse, but we know that reported incidents of domestic and sexual violence increase during sporting events such as the Euros.

“As a result we want to promote the measures we’ve put in place in Croydon and ensure that people know that additional help is on hand during this period.”

The tournament, which is due to start on June 10, is expected to be the most dangerous to date due to sporting events being prime terror targets.

The car scheme has been piloted since February by The Family Justice Centre and Croydon police’s community safety unit (CSU) to provide immediate help and support to victims when they call the police.

The vehicle is used for twice per week in eight-hour shifts and is staffed by domestic violence control officers. It is to be used specifically, within Croydon, to attend incidents of domestic abuse that require the immediate intervention of specialist support.

Raj Thurai, team leader for Substance Misuse and Domestic Violence at Turning Point, Croydon, has revealed a steady correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence.

“We deal with substance misuse all the time and it is a widely accepted fact that people consume alcohol much more readily during major sporting events such as the upcoming Euro games,” he said.

“There is a substantial correlation with the amount of alcohol consumed or substance misused and the reported incidences of domestic violence.”

“Stress from the games and loss of control due to substance misuse are common factors that lead to violent bouts of abuse in Croydon households.”

During the World Cup 2014 the levels of domestic violence had doubled in certain areas, with Croydon showing peak levels of domestic violence in the surrounding areas.

Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant, Croydon’s borough commander, said: “The Met will not tolerate domestic abuse in any circumstances. It’s a serious crime and we’re committed to working with all our partners and local communities to safeguard victims and pursue offenders.

“My message to victims is: if you feel you cannot tell the police, please tell someone – there is a wide range of third-party reporting facilities available.”

The Metropolitan police have pledged to make an assertive rule on any violence that occurs, as they get ready for an increase in the cases of domestic abuse during the upcoming Euro games.

Commander Christine Jones, senior officer responsible for domestic abuse at the Met, said: “Home Office analysis and academic research indicates there will be an increase in domestic abuse during the course of the competition.

“Major sporting events do not cause domestic abuse as perpetrators are responsible for their own actions. The Met will not tolerate domestic abuse in any circumstances.”

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