Visualizing domestic abuse reports during 2018 World Cup


WikiTribune received data from a number of police forces in England to find out if reported domestic abuse incidents increased during the World Cup season, notably on days that the England team played.

Speculation and media suggestions about a link between competitiveness and alcohol intake during football tournaments rose during the World Cup period after domestic violence charities warned of a correlation. Some academics also referred to the link between watching the sport and violence caused by heightened emotions (The Conversation).

One tweet by the National Health Service, saying that domestic violence reports rose 38 percent when England lost a game in the 2014 World Cup, went viral.

However, up until England’s quarter-final match against Sweden, West Yorkshire Police hadn’t seen a “marked increase” in reports, the force told WikiTribune in an email.

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However, on July 7, the day of the game, the police force recorded a jump in domestic abuse incidents reported, up 128 reports from the equivalent day in 2017.

The police force also pointed out a “general increase” in contacts compared to last year.

West Yorkshire Police domestic abuse logs

Flourish is the most powerful platform for data visualisation and storytelling

Similarly, the National Centre for Domestic Violence told WikiTribune it had witnessed a correlation between the World Cup and increased reports of domestic violence.

The Centre sent WikiTribune the number of domestic reports they received in a 10-day period during the World Cup in July, a 10-day period before the World Cup began in June, and equivalent dates in 2017.

National Centre for Domestic Violence reports World Cup

Flourish is the most powerful platform for data visualisation and storytelling

But Cambridge Constabulary, a police force, said its data showed no explicit rise in domestic violence incidents during the World Cup.

Domestic Abuse Cases During Football World Cup 2018

Flourish is the most powerful platform for data visualisation and storytelling

The Metropolitan Police in London also told WikiTribune they had “no evidence at this stage to prove a definitive link between domestic abuse and football.”

Meanwhile, domestic violence charities demonstrated concern with blaming football for causing domestic violence.

“Football – and the alcohol that tends to go with it – can be aggravating factors when it comes to domestic violence, but they are not the root cause,” said Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of UK domestic violence charity Refuge, in a statement sent to WikiTribune.

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