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DCI Andy Pritchard of Kent Police issues world cup domestic abuse warning on eve of tournament

By Jenni Horn

Women in abusive relationships should steer clear of their partners when England are playing in the world cup, a top detective has warned.

Police are preparing for a rise in cases of domestic violence during the tournament, especially if the national side loses.

In 2010 officers dealt with double the usual number of abuse incidents when England did badly. A specialist team has been examining patterns of domestic abuse from the last eight years in preparation for the 2014 games.

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DCI Andy Pritchard from Kent Police said: “We looked at the patterns during the World Cups in 2006 and 2010 and the European Championships in 2012 to predict as much as possible what will happen this year. There was escalation in domestic abuse during each of those campaigns, particularly in association with England matches.

“There is a close correlation between high emotions during high stake football games and the use of alcohol combined with evening or weekend matches. Sadly all of these factors combined mean that people who are already in an abusive relationships are more likely to suffer.

“Alcohol is massively associated with domestic abuse and when you combine that with high emotions associated with football games, it creates a toxic mix.

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“There is likely to be a higher level of cases after those matches where it was a draw or loss for England. At its peak in 2010 we saw a doubling of domestic abuse incidents over the matches where England fared worse.”

DCI Pritchard advised women to seek help if they are in an abusive relationship - and steer clear of their partners if they think a game may trigger violence at home.

He added: “Every abusive situation is very unique and victims will know their abusers better than anyone. My advice would be to try to understand those triggers. If they are high emotions and alcohol, then try to find strategies to avoid being in that situation for that period of time. I would also advise women that there are lots of agencies out there that can help them, not just the police.”

Women can get advice online at domesticabuseservices.org.uk

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