Beware, win or lose: Domestic violence and the World Cup

Article


Brimicombe, A. and Cafe, Rebecca 2011. Beware, win or lose: Domestic violence and the World Cup. Significance. 9 (5), pp. 32-35.
AuthorsBrimicombe, A. and Cafe, Rebecca
Abstract

In the run up to just about any mega sporting event these days (e.g. Football World and European
Cups, Rugby World Cup, Super Bowl Sunday) there are warnings and public conversations about
a likely rise in domestic violence (DV) during these events. London 2012 is no exception – Figure 1
is a beer mat used in the London Borough of Newham (one of the London 2012 ‘Host Boroughs’)
as part of its campaign in the run-up to and during the Games period. Many of these
conversations, in the UK at least, quote a Home Office report 1 which purports to have found a link
during the 2006 FIFA World Cup between sporting events, alcohol consumption and DV. The
report states that “major sporting events do not cause DV, as perpetrators are responsible for their
actions, but the levels of alcohol consumption linked to the highly charged emotional nature of
those events seems to increase the prevalence of such incidents” (p36). Campaigners would argue
that DV is a serious every day event not caused by sport or alcohol and that public consciousness
of this scourge should not just be tied to particular sporting fixtures or tournaments. Spikes in DV
can be much larger, for example, over Christmas and New Year. Nevertheless, the perennial
nature of the debate around DV and football prompted the second author of this paper, a BBC
journalist, to put the 2006 Home Office conclusions to the test for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
(though the story was not run by the BBC until the 2012 UEFA Cup2). For reasons discussed
below, police recorded figures of DV are more problematic than, say, burglary or theft of a vehicle,
and finding a suitable control against which to test the significance of any change is particularly
problematic. This paper gives a more in-depth presentation of the thinking behind the analysis.

Keywordsdomestic violence; statistical analysis; football
JournalSignificance
Journal citation9 (5), pp. 32-35
ISSN1740-9713
Year2011
PublisherWiley/ Royal Statistical Society
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Publication dates
Print11 Sep 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Oct 2012
Copyright information(c) 2012 Royal Statistical Society
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