Cannock Chase Council is urging football fans to ‘show domestic abuse the red card’ with the start of the European Championship this week.
Research shows that incidents of domestic abuse rise sharply when England play in a tournament by up to 25 per cent, so the Council has teamed up with partners from the local Community Safety Partnership to deliver some important messages.
With the first football game kicking off this week, people will be watching the games from their local pub or home due to the pandemic. This could increase tensions within households, resulting in incidences of domestic abuse.
In response to this, the Council’s Community Safety Partnership has teamed up with local partners including Staffordshire Police, New Era (domestic abuse service), the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office and local authorities across Staffordshire to launch a new campaign.
The new campaign ‘Show domestic abuse the red card’ raises awareness of the support services available for both victims and perpetrators. This will build on a previous campaign which the team launched last year during the pandemic.
Useful contact cards, posters and window stickers will be distributed to pubs and taxis across the District as well as a range of online messages and advertising through the Council’s social media platforms.
A new video has also been produced to highlight the support available and to reassure victims and perpetrators that they are not alone.
The campaign encourages perpetrators of domestic abuse to get help from New Era Domestic Abuse Service on 01785 601690, an organisation which offers specialist domestic violence prevention services.
The campaign also encourages victims, individuals and families who have concerns to report abuse and get support from New Era’s Domestic Abuse Service’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 303 3778 or access their 24/7 live chat facility at www.new-era.uk
A full list of domestic abuse support services is available to access from the Council’s website.
Councillor Bryan Jones, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Leader for Neighbourhood Safety & Partnerships, said: “It is a sad fact that incidents of domestic abuse rise sharply during major football tournaments. This campaign will help raise awareness of the support services available to both victims and perpetrators as well as sending out a clear message that domestic abuse is completely unacceptable.
“The message is not that football itself is responsible for domestic abuse. Football can be a source of community, where most fans watch a game without becoming aggressive. However, it does cause some individuals within our society to become violent and vent their anger on those who are closest to them – including their children”.
“If you are experiencing domestic abuse or know someone who is, please contact New Era and they will be able to support you. Please show domestic abuse the red card - if you become a perpetrator, there will always consequences to your actions. Get help today.”
Chief Inspector Paul Cooke, Safeguarding Lead for Staffordshire Police, said: “Staffordshire Police along with our partners are committed to breaking the cycle of abuse for those victims and families living with domestic abuse. I would encourage those suffering abuse or those committing the abuse to call the police or our partners so we can assist you, your children and family stay safe from further harm. The first and hardest step for change is letting someone know what is happening. We, as agencies, are here for you and ready to help.
Chantelle Thompson, New Era’s head of service, said: “Football tournaments like this one can be a great way of bringing communities and families together. However, sadly, they often coincide with an increase in referrals to services like ours.
“But, it’s not an unfavourable match result or someone drinking too much alcohol that causes domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is caused by one person wanting to coercively control another. It’s never acceptable and it’s illegal.
“If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, or you want support to change your abusive behaviour, we can help you. New Era supports adults and children of all ages, genders and ethnicities living Cannock and elsewhere in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
Ben Adams, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, said: “While most football fans will be looking forward to the Euros, we know that for victims of domestic abuse, major tournaments can lead to increased tensions in the home, and a sharp rise in cases.
“We’re working hard to promote the message that domestic abuse is never acceptable, and investing in services like New Era to ensure victims get the support they need, when they need it.”
For more information visit www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk/footballredcard