Chief Inspector John Wilkinson: Euro 2016 will see domestic abuse cases rise in our area
We are approaching the end of the first week of the Euro 2016 football championship, with the first England game played and the next game with Wales beckoning.
As a nation we are hoping for a good performance by our national team – could they possibly do it?
And then we turn on the TV or go online and see the disappointing images of fighting and tear gas in the streets, and we admonish those perpetrators of violence and those who choose to use these events in order to bring about violence and fear.
However, there are some who will not have to leave the country to bring violence and fear.
There will be members of our own communities who were not looking forward in anticipation to the start of this tournament.
They were instead dreading the first whistle being blown and the first kick of a ball – as sure to follow will be abuse and violence – not on the terraces of Marseille or Lille, but in their own homes.
Research across the years has shown that increases in incidents of domestic violence and football tournaments have a direct link.
The BBC conducted research into reports of domestic violence during the 2010 World Cup and found that irrespective of result, win or lose – reports of domestic abuse increased.
As a police force we know from experience that when passions run high and alcohol is often involved, situations can very quickly spiral out of control.
However, as the current North Yorkshire Police domestic abuse campaign states – no matter what the score, it’s never an excuse for domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can leave victims feeling trapped and frightened.
Victims can often feel isolated and don’t feel confident to reach out for help.
It has a devastating effect upon not only victims, but any children in the home and the wider family as a whole.
Many people immediately think of domestic abuse being an act of physical violence, but it can also take the form of emotional, psychological and financial abuse.
Threats and destruction of property, controlling behaviour and preventing someone from seeing friends and family or making phone calls are all forms of domestic abuse.
Throughout the Euros, North Yorkshire Police are using their social media accounts to encourage victims to come forward and report the abuse to us, so that we can take the necessary steps to make it stop.
If a person is in immediate danger they should always call 999 or contact police on 101.
If victims do not feel comfortable to contact the police and make a report, support is still available.
We work closely with IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) a charity organisation that provides comprehensive support services to all those who experience or are affected by domestic abuse.
They provide support to both male and female victims and can help with refuge accommodation, outreach support and have trained specialist workers who can support victims through the criminal justice system.
They have a 24 hour helpline which offers free and confidential advice – 03000 110110 or visit the website at www.idas.org.uk.
I would encourage anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to come forward and contact us and get the help they deserve.
Follow the campaign on our Facebook page or via Twitter @NYorksPolice #dontsufferinsilence