Merseyside Police is sending out a warning to perpetrators of domestic abuse ahead of the England match on Friday evening.
During the 2010 World Cup, the force received a significant increase in people reporting domestic violence and abuse whenever England played, peaking at 145 referrals on the day England were knocked out by Germany, compared to a tournament low of 44.
With England playing their first evening match of Euro 2012, the police and partner agencies, which provide support to victims of domestic abuse, are warning of the consequences of such abuse, especially when excessive drinking is involved.
Detective Superintendent Tim Keelan, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said help was out there for victims and offenders would be severely dealt with by the police.
He said: “Domestic abuse, whether it is physical or verbal, is a terrible and damaging crime and one that the police and other agencies out there are keen to reduce as much as possible.
“Victims often feel a sense of shame or disloyalty because they know their attacker and opt to suffer in silence rather than seek help. Our message to them is don’t. Don’t be afraid to tell someone. There is a lot of help out there both from specialist officers within Merseyside Police and organisations such as Woman’s Aid and Drawaline.co.uk.
“I can assure you that what you tell us will be taken seriously, you will be looked after and given the right kind of care and support, and strong action will be taken against the person responsible.”
On the evening of England’s match against France on Monday, many of the calls made to Merseyside Police that were domestic-related involved people who had drank excessive amounts of alcohol. Although the majority of the calls did not involve people who had been watching the match, a wide cross section of people reported incidents to the police.
Det Supt Keelan added: “Domestic abuse is not just a violent man hitting their wife or girlfriend. It can be the other way round, or it can be incidents between relatives and different generations of the same family. The abuse can be witnessed by children, causing untold emotional damage to them, neighbours or friends.
“Excessive drinking is often a common factor and with Friday being the end of the working week for most people and England playing their first evening game, people may drink more than they normally would at home.
“I would warn anyone who drinks to excess and becomes aggressive or violent that they face being arrested at the very least, and possibly charged with a criminal offence. I would encourage anyone who experiences domestic abuse to not suffer in silence and find the courage to come forward and get the help you deserve.
“I encourage the neighbours and friends of those that suffer to tell us about it. People can contact Merseyside Police and after explaining who they are and what the problem is, request that the police do not call at their address if they’re concerned about the response of their neighbours – this is about protecting the vulnerable people out there.