Children Keep the Score

Children Keep the Score

During major football tournaments like the Euros, incidents of domestic abuse rise.

Research from Warwick Business School in 2022 revealed that domestic abuse by partners increased by 47% on the day England won a World Cup or European Championship match, with reports of cases involving alcohol 18% higher than average.

By addressing the relationship between football and domestic abuse and promoting positive behaviours, Children Keep the Score aims to create a safer environment for families during the Euros 2024 and beyond.

Together, let’s pitch for change and ensure that football is enjoyed by all children and families – whether in stadiums, on pitches, in the community or in homes.  

Understanding the connection

The link between football and domestic abuse has been well-documented, particularly during major tournaments like the World Cup. Research shows that incidents of domestic abuse tend to spike when national teams play, regardless of whether they win or lose. For instance, studies from Lancaster University have found that domestic abuse reports increase by 38% when England loses a match and by 26% when they win or draw. 

The increased tension and emotional investment in the games, coupled with heavy alcohol consumption, contribute significantly to this rise. Research from LSE demonstrates that alcohol often acts as a catalyst for violent behaviour, exacerbating underlying issues of control and aggression in abusers. During the 2018 World Cup, the NSPCC reported a significant increase in calls related to domestic abuse, highlighting the direct impact on children. These children face heightened risks, living in environments filled with fear and instability, which can severely affect their emotional and psychological well-being. 

It is never okay to harm another person. But it is important to understand what feeds into the increase in domestic abuse during major football tournaments. It is likely that the increased tension and emotional investment in the games, a culture of harmful attitudes and behaviours (e.g. use of abusive and offensive language, violence and aggression on the pitch, in the stands and on the sidelines, rise of online hate around football) coupled with heavy alcohol consumption, contributed significantly to this rise. Alcohol can act as a catalyst for violent behaviour and can exacerbate underlying issues of control and aggression – . learn more in this study. During the 2018 World Cup, the NSPCC reported a significant increase in calls related to domestic abuse, highlighting the direct impact on children. These children face heightened risks, living in environments filled with fear and instability, which can severely affect their emotional and psychological well-being. 

The impact of domestic abuse on children and babies is profound. Exposure to domestic abuse can cause severe psychological trauma, developmental delays, and emotional distress. Babies and young children may develop anxiety, depression, and behavioural issues as they grow, as well as struggle with forming healthy relationships. The toxic environment of aggression and fear disrupts their sense of security and can have lasting detrimental effects on their mental and emotional well-being. Not a legacy that the football world wants to leave behind for any child.

This is why we are campaigning to raise awareness of the rise and impact of domestic abuse during football tournaments, giving practical advice to families, and calling on the football community to challenged ingrained attitudes and behaviours that contribute to a hostile world for babies and children.

1 in 5

Around 1 in 5 children in the UK experience domestic abuse, often starting in the womb. 

47%

In 2022, Warwick Business School reports that domestic abuse increased by 47% on the day England won a major tournament match.

17%

NSPCC saw a 17% increase for the number of counselling sessions delivered during the 2018 World Cup. 

Our calls to action

Keep a Calm Head

Try to Tackle Harm

Rewrite your Script

Have an Impact

We're in it Together

How does football impact your emotional state? Emotional regulation can be challenging, especially when alcohol is involved. What steps can you take to keep a calm head? Try avoiding alcohol or watching matches outside the home.

Remember, it’s never okay to harm your partner, family, or children. Domestic abuse can take many forms, and you’re hurting others, you need to stop. You can talk to your doctor or a counsellor or call the Respect Helpline for help. 

If you’ve hurt people, it’s your responsibility. You need to want to change and be ready to put in the work. Confront difficult things and rewrite your script. Consider how you want your children to remember you.

Talk about domestic abuse. It has been hidden for too long. Discuss with your friends what is and isn’t acceptable. Challenge language and attitudes that hurt women, mock men, are homophobic, and support harm.

To stop domestic abuse from breaking families, we need to work together. Be the friend who calls it out and supports those who are hurting. Be the change in your family, amongst your friends and in your community. Be the hero your child needs most.

Show your support

Commit to change

Take a pledge against abusive behaviour, and commit to change if you are using abusive behaviours at home. 

Raise awareness

Raise awareness of domestic abuse in your football club, organisation or community group by sharing our campaign and supporting our work. 

Seek help

Seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse. 

Where to find help

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic abuse, there are resources available to provide support and assistance. Reach out to local domestic abuse hotlines for immediate help and safety: 

Remember, reaching out for help is a courageous step towards healing, and there are caring professionals ready to support you on your journey.

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