It’s only a game? Domestic abuse, sporting events and alcohol

English | Cymraeg

17 May 2010

Note: This report was funded and/or written by our predecessor organisation Alcohol Concern.


In England and Wales, nearly 20,000 women a week experience at least one incident of domestic abuse. Research shows that reports of domestic abuse can increase during periods when major sporting events are held, perhaps by as much as 40 per cent. There is no evidence of a direct causal relationship between domestic abuse and alcohol consumption – perpetrators use violence both with and without alcohol. However, drinking is known to increase the frequency and seriousness of incidents.

Alcohol consumption is expected to soar in Wales and the rest of the UK during this summer’s football World Cup. The brewer Carlsberg, which is the official sponsor of the England football team, expects an extra 21 million pints to be drunk during the four week tournament.

This paper examines how alcohol consumption and reports of domestic abuse increase during sporting occasions. It makes recommendations for awareness-raising and for continued action to address this issue. It is intended to provide information to service providers, policy-makers and interested members of the public.