Although major sporting events like this summer’s football World Cup in Brazil are renowned for bringing the Country together, sadly, for some this summer will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. England’s recent loss to Italy may have already sparked a number of domestic violence incidents throughout the Country. Tonight’s game against Uruguay may have even larger consequences given the unlikelihood of qualification if England were to lose.

Unfortunately a tragic by product of such sporting events is a significant increase in incidents of domestic violence. Research carried out by Dr Stuart Kirby of Lancaster University determined that during the 2010 football World Cup, incidents of domestic violence rose by 26% when England won and 38% when England lost. Even more worryingly, these statistics follow an ever increasing trend from world cup to world cup, with police forces expecting record numbers of domestic violence related incidents during footballs marque event. These statistics are particularly worrying given England’s recent result against Italy.

The World Cup for many provides a reason to celebrate, however, delight can often turn to despair with one kick of a ball. With the combination of unachieved expectations, heightened emotions, warm weather and an increase in alcohol and drug intake, incidents of domestic violence are inevitably going to rise, particularly during and after England’s games.

Northumbria Police have though taken some steps to protect those at risk of domestic violence, launching their ‘Kick Off’ campaign.

As part of this campaign, which will run throughout the World Cup, Northumbria Police will place dedicated cars at each area command to respond to domestic violence related calls during the England matches. They have also identified those offenders which are considered high risk and will pay particular attention to them. Specialist officers from the Protecting Vulnerable People department will also be on duty at key times throughout the World Cup to provide an enhanced service from the police.

Aside from the assistance of the Police, those who find themselves victims of domestic violence can gain protection from their abuser by applying for a civil injunction. There are two main types of injunctions, a non-molestation order, often referred to as a restraining order, which is an order aimed at preventing the abuser from using or threatening violence or intimidating, harassing or pestering the victim and an occupation order which regulates who can live in the family home. If in immediate danger an application can be made to the court with a supporting statement on the same day without the abuser even being there. The court will consider whether the victim is at risk of significant harm and if satisfied will grant an order. Injunctions are usually for a specified period of time (between 6 months to one year) but can be renewed if problems persist. A copy will be served upon the Police and the abuser. If the abuser breaches the order he or she will be arrested and brought before the criminal courts.

At David Gray Solicitors we have four solicitors who are accredited specialists in the area of domestic abuse. We have a dedicated team of lawyers who are able to see clients on an emergency same-day basis, to give appropriate advice and support. We assist clients with obtaining emergency Injunctions where this is deemed necessary to protect their safety. We also have excellent working relationships with local women’s refuges and support agencies, such as Women’s Aid, where we can refer clients for additional support. Please contact us for further advice and assistance

Legal Aid is still available for such applications if the victim is in receipt of state benefits or a low income. An assessment as to eligibility can be made by one of our Solicitors.