A LEADING domestic violence campaigner has praised police after figures show the rate of assaults fell during England’s World Cup campaign.
Northumbria Police launched a hard-hitting campaign in the run-up to the tournament amid fears a mixture of drink and high emotions could spark a rise in calls.
The force paid special attention to high-risk domestic violence offenders and had officers with specialist domestic violence training on duty at key times.
Wearside Women in Need (WWIN) staff accompanied officers on calls in the Sunderland area.
And while the rate of reports was up for England’s first game, it fell over the next two matches to a lower level than in the weeks leading up to the competition.
WWIN boss Claire Phillipson said: “My understanding is that runs counter to other force areas nationwide.
“Northumbria Police ran a high-profile campaign about domestic violence during the World Cup and I wonder if this is indicative of how well positive policing works in terms of prevention.
“Publicity was everywhere and help was on hand for victims.”
Officers attended a total of 164 domestic abuse reports across the Northumbria force area over the course of England’s time in Brazil.
Between 6pm on Saturday, June 14 – when England played Italy- and 6am on Sunday, June 15, there were 86 reports of domestic abuse, up from an average of 66 for the previous three Saturdays.
But between Thursday, June 19 and Friday, June 20, when England played Uruguay, there were 44 domestic incidents, compared to an average of 45 domestic for the previous three weeks.
And by the time Roy Hodgson’s already-eliminated side men played out a scoreless draw against Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 24, the number of reports had dropped to just 34, compared to a previous three-week average of 39.
It was possible England’s hugely disappointing performance had played its own part in cutting the number of reports.
“It might be down to the fact there were just fewer people watching the games,” said Ms Phillipson.
“But from my point of view, it means fewer people calling the police, fewer people in the casualty department.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “Using this high profile event, we’ve been able to raise the issue of domestic violence which is a priority in my police and crime plan, and to make people aware this crime continues to happen.
“Through our Kick Off campaign activity, we have been able to highlight the specialist support and advice available for victims. I hope they feel reassured there is people they can talk to who are on hand to help them.’’