Scapegoating football as a trigger for domestic violence trivialises the issue and risks offering offenders an excuse for their behaviour, discovered researchers from GCU in partnership with the universities of Glasgow and Bristol.
Reports linking a spike in cases of domestic violence with the outcome of Old Firm games and England’s World Cup performance lack reliable data and fail to recognise abuse as a pattern of ongoing behaviour.
The findings were included in the first in-depth study of a perceived link between football and domestic violence and abuse (DVA) from the point-of-view of survivors, police, specialist support groups, football authorities, government organisations and policymakers in Scotland and England.
Focus group and one-to-one interviews were conducted in Scotland and England for the study, which was published in the Journal of Gender-Based Violence.
All stakeholders had concerns about the reliability and implications of data suggesting a causal link between football and domestic violence and abuse. Research which suggests potential links between DVA and factors such as football or alcohol has proliferated and links between them may be misinterpreted, misrepresented and misunderstood.