Do Sporting Events Increase Domestic Violence? | Teen Ink

Do Sporting Events Increase Domestic Violence?

December 10, 2018
By G-J-Samuel GOLD, Tirana, Other
G-J-Samuel GOLD, Tirana, Other
12 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Sporting events: a time for intense enthusiasm, exhilaration, delight, and triumph. But that is not true for all… studies show that every time there is a major sporting event, domestic violence in England increases by 26% when the team plays and 38% when they lose. But this issue isn’t only present in England. A study also shows that in Australia, State Of Origin rugby matches coincide with a 40 percent rise in calls relating to assault and domestic violence in the state of New South Wales. The abusers would also set "rules" about whether their partners were allowed to enter the room, talk, do particular activities, or interrupt the game while it was on TV.

However, this topic sparks major controversy in whether sports have a direct link to increased violence, or whether it’s the impact of alcohol, drugs and gambling, leading an abuser to strengthen their behaviour and take it out on the people around them. So what exactly is the cause of domestic violence and sporting events to be linked?  This is an example of what psychologists identify as the cause: “What causes domestic violence to increase in a sporting event include a volatile mix of alcohol (sometimes drugs), gambling, heightened emotions, tribalism and competition. The excitement, disappointment and flow of adrenaline are made worse or more likely when alcohol has been consumed” (Thorpe "The Scary Link Between Major Sports Games & Domestic Violence" 2018).

On the other hand, others believe that sports don’t have a direct impact to violence: “Domestic violence is a choice perpetrators make; and the vast majority of men who enjoy [soccer] do not choose to abuse their partners. Blaming [soccer] or alcohol absolves the perpetrator of responsibility for his action. Women experience violence and abuse at the hands of their partners every day, not just when [soccer] is on the TV." Statistics show that one in three women in the U.S. will experience some kind of intimate partner violence in their lifetime (Thorpe "The Scary Link Between Major Sports Games & Domestic Violence" 2018).

Another circulating and questionable fact is how domestic violence has no sudden increase if there is a draw in the sporting match. Following England’s 4-1 loss to Germany, “the most lopsided England loss in a World Cup (World Cup 2010),” domestic violence rose by 31.5 percent. Domestic violence also increased dramatically after England’s previous match — a 1-0 victory over Slovenia. In contrast to all of this, domestic violence remained steady after draws, increasing by only 0.1 percent after England’s scoreless draw with Algeria and actually decreasing by 1.9 percent following a 1-1 tie with the United States. So what causes draws to differ drastically from the win/lose situation? Even though it might seem normal for a tie to increase the frustration, psychologists believe that the cause of a draw keeping domestic violence at a steady rate is how any extreme emotion is replaced with a feeling of patience. (Davidson "Study Finds Increase In Domestic Violence Following Major Sporting Events" 2013)

While sporting events might be a factor for abusive behavior to occur, preventing sports is not the best solution. Instead it’s important to support people who are at risk for domestic violence and those who are survivors of it.


Works Cited:

Davidson, Kavitha. “Study Finds Increase In Domestic Violence Following Major Sporting Events.” 29 Apr. 2013,

Thorpe, JR. “The Scary Link Between Major Sports Games & Domestic Violence.” Bustle, Bustle, 31 July 2018.

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