Stop Making Excuses for Domestic Abusers; Offenders 'Must Be Held to Account' Researchers Say Blaming Football, Religion or Booze Is Letting Real Perpetrators of Violence off Too Lightly

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 7, 2018 | Go to article overview

Stop Making Excuses for Domestic Abusers; Offenders 'Must Be Held to Account' Researchers Say Blaming Football, Religion or Booze Is Letting Real Perpetrators of Violence off Too Lightly


Byline: ALAN McEWEN alan.mcewen@reachplc.com

SCAPEGOATING football as a trigger for domestic violence "trivialises" the issue and risks offering offenders an "excuse for their behaviour", according to a study.

Reports linking a spike in cases with the outcome of Old Firm games or England's World Cup performance lack reliable data, researchers found.

They also fail to recognise that domestic abuse is a "pattern of ongoing behaviour".

But football has a responsibility to highlight the issue in a similar way to which clubs support campaigns against racism and homophobia, the research found.

The findings were drawn from the point of view of survivors, police, specialist support groups, football authorities, government organisations and policymakers in Scotland and England.

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Glasgow and the University of Bristol said previous studies "over-simplified the issue".

They found earlier work discounted a range of factors, including increased policing on match days, the large number of men who watch and support the sport, and different recording practices between police forces.

Domestic violence support groups stressed abusive behaviour is about "power and control".

Dr Nancy Lombard of Glasgow Caledonian University said: "All stakeholders had concerns about the reliability and implications of data suggesting a causal link between football and domestic violence and abuse.

"Participants highlighted concerns about existing evidence and the need to view violence and abuse as a pattern of ongoing behaviour, which cannot be reduced to an incident associated with a particular event such as a football match. …

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