At the end of last week in the House of Lords five members of that part of Parliament raised comments about the risk that tonight’s football game could create in our nation. Along with their views I am also aware based on comments from the Sussex Police that the Police Services are also very familiar with the issue that football games can create in terms of Domestic Abuse and Violence. They are very aware of any issues that may arise in the next few hours. So back to the House of Lords at lunchtime on Thursday there was this session under the title of Non-fatal Strangulation and Suffocation which was introduced by Baroness Helen Newlove with the following question
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made, if any, of (1) the number of non-fatal strangulation and suffocation incidents each year in England and Wales, and (2) the division of such incidents between (a) cases of domestic abuse, (b) cases of sexual violence, and (c) other situations.
The Government Peer who responded to the various comments and questions was Lord David Wolfson of Tredegar and in response to another contribution he stated
My Lords, I agree that an awareness campaign is important. Of course, having the offence itself will raise awareness. Perhaps I may make a topical point. We know that domestic abuse goes up when there are big football matches and, while we all want England to win, we must remember those for whom “It’s coming home” is a threat often accompanied by alcohol and violence.
Then at 4.20pm there was this debate of Women’s Health Outcomes – Motion to Take Note that was started by Baroness Anne Jenkin of Kennington. One of her comments was
Noble Lords may not be aware that instances of domestic abuse increase by 26% when England play football and by 38% if they lose. So those who may not be looking forward to Sunday’s game will be especially welcoming the actions that the Government are taking on violence against women and girls.
And later on in the debate there was this comment from Lord Ian McColl of Dulwich
Better outcomes could be achieved by reducing violence, rape and abuse of all kinds, and alerting the public to the increased domestic violence following football matches, as the noble Baroness, Lady Jenkin, mentioned. Violence against women is also bound up with pornography and prostitution. A Swedish law making it illegal to pay for a prostitute reduces the opportunities for violence against women and could be passed here in this country. Those opposing such a law might be asked whether they have an interest to declare.
And then finally on Thursday this comment from Baroness Susan Williams of Trafford was part of the Licensing Act 2003 (2020 UEFA European Championship Licensing Hours) Order 2021 – Motion to Approve that occurred at 6.20pm.
I thank both noble Lords for the points that they have made. I join both of them in expressing concern for the effect that events like this have on domestic violence, and it is certainly something that the police will be alert to. It is not just this football game; any football game seems to be a time of escalation of domestic violence. I totally understand the points that the noble Lords are making and, yes, the police and support services are fully aware of the issue.
It is clearly vital that whatever the result of this football game that families are protected and any violence or abuse needs to be prevented wherever possible.