A new campaign is hoping to show domestic abuse the red card during the European Championships.
The tournament starts tomorrow (11th June), but authorities say previous competitions have often been accompanied by a rise in reports of abuse.
Chantelle Thompson, from Staffordshire domestic abuse service New Era, said:
“Football tournaments like this one can be a great way of bringing communities and families together. Sadly, they often coincide with an increase in referrals to specialist support services like ours.
“But, it’s not an unfavourable match result or someone drinking too much alcohol that causes domestic abuse – it is caused by one person wanting to exert power and control over another.
“It’s never acceptable and it’s illegal.
“If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, or you want support to change your abusive behaviour, we can help you.”Chantelle Thompson, New Era
People experiencing domestic abuse can contact New Era’s 24-hour confidential helpline for victims on 0300 303 3778.
Inspector Stuart Coleman, of Lichfield Neighbourhood Police Team, said:
“Throughout the Euros tournament we’re reminding domestic abuse victims that there is help on hand – we’ll be promoting New Era and other local support services, so anyone who has concerns knows where to turn.
“This is in addition to encouraging football fans to drink responsibly and make a choice to either drink or drive.
“Our neighbourhood teams will be working closely with council colleagues to keep everyone safe and we’ll also have additional patrols on duty in the city centre.”Insp Stuart Coleman, Staffordshire Police
Councillor Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for community engagement, said:
“Many of us are looking forward to the Euros getting underway.
“However, for some supporters the mix of emotion and alcohol can lead to increased tensions in relationships, making volatile situations even more dangerous for those around them.
“This is why we’re linking up with Staffordshire Police and other organisations in the partnership to reassure anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse that help is on hand.”Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council
Pathway Project also supports adults, young people and children from Lichfield and Burntwood who are experiencing or affected by domestic abuse.
Their 24-hour confidential helpline is 01543 676800 and more information is available at www.pathway-project.co.uk.