Police send strong domestic violence message to football fans in Newcastle and North East ahead of World Cup

Northumbria Police have launched a campaign to help fight any increast in domestic violence during the World Cup

Police have sent a strong message to football fans in Newcastle and across the North East regarding domestic abuse as the start of the World Cup draws near.

Northumbria Police has noted that during periods where increased drinking or pressures are seen, a rise in the number of reports linked to domestic abuse often follows. With the World Cup beginning on Sunday, November 20, officers are warning perpetrators they can’t hide behind excuses – and they are the only ones responsible for their behaviour.

As well as urging victims to come forward, officers are also encouraging people who could be displaying signs of abusive behaviour to get support before this escalates.

Detective Chief Inspector Les Goodliff, who is the Domestic Abuse Lead for Northumbria Police, said: “As a Force, protecting people who are vulnerable is our number one priority and this includes victims of domestic abuse. We do see increases in such reports at times when people may be drinking more or there could be additional pressures at home – but we are here to make it clear that there can never be any excuse to abuse someone.

“It’s not football, alcohol, or stresses in home life which are responsible for this behaviour – the only person responsible for their actions is the one carrying out the abuse.”

The approach specifically looks to speak to perpetrators after feedback from victims who said this was an area they wanted to see an increased focus. Officers are also encouraging both victims and perpetrators to recognise that abuse can take many forms – it can be emotional, physical, sexual or financial and it can be through words or actions.

Det Chief Insp Goodliff added: “While this activity does target perpetrators, we would encourage anyone who has been a victim of domestic abuse to contact police or any of the support services available. Our message to you is also a clear one – we are here for you. We want to protect you and we will do all we can to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is also making it clear that perpetrators need to take responsibility for their behaviour. She said: “It’s important that we communicate loud and clear that there’s no excuse for domestic abuse and no one should have to experience it. A partner who is violent, abusive, or controlling has nothing and no one to blame but themselves. These behaviours are never OK, these behaviours need to change.

Detective Chief Inspector Les Goodliff

“If you know your behaviour becomes violent when you have a drink, then your choice to continue drinking means you are choosing to use violence – it’s that simple. You can’t say you ‘just lost control’, the very fact you’re choosing not to be abusive to friends or colleagues makes it clear you’re focused on abusing your partner.

“Pointing at someone else, playing the blame game, creating a narrative to explain your actions – these are all excuses and these excuses are allowing you to be stuck perpetrating these behaviours. It’s your responsibility to choose not to abuse someone, so if you recognise you are or are heading that way, take control of yourself and get help.”

If you feel you may be on the wrong path and want support around your behaviour you can contact the national helpline Respect 0808 802 4040 (Monday to Thursday 10 am-8 pm, Friday 10 am-5 pm) or visit their website.

A poster from the campaign

Anyone who is a victim of abuse can contact police via the ‘Report an incident’ page on the police website or by calling 101. If you are in immediate danger always call 999. Further support and advice is available via the National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247.