Children “more exposed to domestic violence during the World Cup”
Children will face an increased risk of domestic violence during the World Cup, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has warned.
The charity said emotional stress, alcohol and match betting could be potential triggers for incidents at home over the next four weeks.
During the 2018 competition, there was an increase in the number of people contacting the NSPCC Helpline about children experiencing violence and abuse in the home.
It received 1,060 child protection contacts about domestic violence, an increase of one-third from the monthly average, the charity said.
He fears hundreds of thousands of children could be at risk during the tournament which begins in Qatar on November 20.
Recent government figures revealed domestic abuse was a factor in just under 250,000 assessments of children in need in England in 2021-22.
Jess, from North Wales, recalled having to stay out of the room when the 1998 World Cup matches were broadcast.
She said: “If we had to cross to get to the kitchen, I was absolutely silent.
“I don’t think he was a huge football fan, it was just another way of controlling us. When football was on, it was all about the TV.
“Of course, if his team lost, we would feel all the effects. His mood would change and my mom would be the one he would direct his anger at the most.
“We were still on eggshells, but when the football was on, the end seemed inevitable.”
NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless said: “The majority of fans across the country will enjoy the World Cup with their friends and family, but for many child victims of domestic violence it will bring jitters, fear and even violence.
“Anyone who hears or sees anything worrying about a child while watching football can contact the NSPCC helpline for confidential advice.
“Domestic violence can decimate a child’s confidence and sense of security and, without support, can have a devastating immediate and long-term impact.
“The government could take a step forward to ensure children have the opportunity to recover from domestic violence by advancing a Victims Bill that recognizes the needs of the hundreds of thousands of children living in abusive homes.”
A government spokeswoman said: ‘Domestic violence is a heinous crime and we fully recognize the devastating impact it can have on children and young people.
“We are determined to better protect and support victims of abuse, including children, and to bring perpetrators to justice.
“This year we are increasing funding for the Children Affected by Domestic Abuse Fund, allocating over £4 million to organizations providing specialist support for child victims of domestic abuse.”
Anyone with concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected].
Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit childline.org.uk