Whilst kindness and generosity are typically words synonymous with the festive period, a seasonal spike in cases of domestic abuse is also not uncommon.
Unfortunately, the issue will be seemingly compounded by the arrival of this year’s winter World Cup, which concludes the week before Christmas on Sunday 18 December.
Given that domestic abuse rates increase by around 26% when a team win or draw and a staggering 38% when they lose, football during the festive period could have very serious consequences for those in abusive relationships.
According to a study by the Centre for Economic Performance, domestic abuse increases and peaks about ten hours after the game, with incidents driven by perpetrators that have consumed alcohol during games.
With this in mind, individuals that are concerned about their own safety or the wellbeing of family members should seek professional support, taking steps to separate and file for an injunction or by detailing a safe route out of the home should incidents of abuse occur.
Dal Heran, Head of the Family Law team at Wright Hassall, commented: “Whilst Christmas should be a time of celebration, research shows that around 15,000 children will be exposed to domestic abuse over the two-week festive season, highlighting the magnitude of the problem.
“Whilst there is no excusing this type of behaviour, there is a tendency amongst many to over-indulge as the Christmas celebrations begin, and this will only be intensified by the arrival of the world’s largest football tournament.
“It is well known that consuming large quantities of alcohol can lead to a range of serious issues, especially in an abusive household, where drinking will impair people’s judgment and exacerbate any existing problems.
“For this reason, it is important that victims of domestic abuse take steps to protect themselves and other family members, even if this is done through the adoption of a pre-arranged escape route, allowing them to safely leave the house and stay
elsewhere should they need to.
“There are also charities dedicated to supporting victims of domestic abuse, with 24-hour helplines and online live chats making it easy for individuals to find help throughout the festive period.
“However, if the situation has already reached a point where intervention is futile, then it may be time to seek legal support in order to separate permanently from an abusive partner, ensuring the protection of any children that also live there.”