Association between football matches and domestic violence

Association between Old Firm football matches and reported domestic (violence) incidents in Strathclyde, Scotland

From SAGE Open

Domestic violence (typically violence against women) is acknowledged as a “major public health problem and violation of women’s human rights”. Recent data from the Scottish Government (2012) indicate the increasingly visible problem of domestic abuse in Scotland. What is more, these data indicate that the problem is most prevalent in the Strathclyde Police jurisdiction (which includes Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow) and mostly has an effect on females.

The aim of this initial study was to develop a robust analytical approach to undertake a preliminary exploration of the association between Old Firm matches and reported domestic incidents in the Strathclyd. The  study compared reported domestic incidents for the 24 hours following all 21 Old Firm matches between 2008 and 2011, with comparator conditions. The number of reported incidents associated with Old Firm matches was significantly greater than the number of incidents recorded seven days later. But there was no difference in the number of reported incidents associated with Scotland International matches hosted in Glasgow and the number of incidents reported seven days later.  The difference in numbers indicates that the effect is not a consequence of seasonality or weekday differences in domestic violence. This paper highlights the need to better understand the factors leading to such violence to inform preventive interventions.

Abstract

Media reports have suggested that the number of reports of domestic violence may increase when Scotland’s two largest, Glasgow-based football (soccer) clubs, Rangers and Celtic (traditionally referred to as the “Old Firm”) play one another. This study considers the number of domestic (violence) incidents reported to Strathclyde Police between 2008 and 2011 in the 24 hours following these matches, and compares it with the number reported during two appropriate comparator periods. There is a statistically significant increase in the number of reports following Old Firm matches compared with the comparator periods. This preliminary analysis confirms previous speculation concerning the association between Old Firm matches and reports of domestic violence, and highlights the need to better understand the factors leading to such violence to inform preventive interventions.

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Article details
Damien J. Williams, Fergus G. Neville, Kirsty House, and Peter D. Donnelly
Association Between Old Firm Football Matches and Reported Domestic (Violence) Incidents in Strathclyde, Scotland SAGE Open July-September 2013 3: 2158244013504207, first published on September 17, 2013 doi:10.1177/2158244013504207

 

     
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