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Special clinic in Maidstone prepares for World Cup surge in domestic violence

By Angela Cole

A special domestic abuse clinic is being set up in Maidstone to deal with an expected rise in violence during the World Cup.

The one-stop shop at the Greenfields children’s centre in Shepway, a domestic violence hot spot, will run for the five-week duration of the Brazil tournament.

Sarah Robson, Maidstone Borough Council community partnerships manager, said she hoped the neutral venue would allow victims to seek help discreetly.

Domestic abuse reports are often reported to police. Thinkstock image

“Women on the school run or on their way to the shops can come in,” she said.

“We knew the World Cup was coming up.

“There will be warmer weather, and more alcohol will be consumed, including in the home.”

Reports during the previous World Cup in 2010 in South Africa showed a surge in violence in the home, with a year-on-year increase of 29% recorded across the country on the day England lost 4-1 to Germany.

But it’s not just when the national team lose that trouble erupts.

Home Office figures from the 2006 competition in Germany also showed a 31% rise on the day England’s beat Paraguay 1-0.

Domestic abuse rises during the world cup

The Shepway clinic, which is being run with North Kent Women’s Aid, will operate between Thursday, June 5, and Thursday, July 17, in Rutland Way, and also offer confidential advice on housing, police and mental health issues and refuge support. Men are welcome too.

Its inconspicuous venue was chosen after officials noted that more victims took advantage of a similar town centre service when it was relocated from a charity hub in Marsham Street to Maidstone council’s Gateway building, which is home to a number of different operations.

On average, 34 incidents of domestic violence are reported to police in the Maidstone borough each week, with 24.3% being repeat offences.

The majority are concentrated in Shepway, followed by nearby Park Wood and then the town-centre High Street ward.

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