Manchester

Poster campaign tackles World Cup domestic abuse

Rowetta Satchell
Image caption Rowetta 'found help' and 'escaped from a very violent marriage'

A new campaign against domestic abuse has been launched in Manchester to coincide with a predicted rise during the World Cup.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) claims that there is up to a ten-fold increase during sporting events.

Home Office research collated in 1996 showed a rise of 30% on England match days.

The campaign, fronted by X Factor star Rowetta Satchell, features posters of a blood-stained football shirt.

Other images include a smashed bottle dripping with blood and carry the number of the Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline.

The singer said: "This campaign is so close to my heart, as most people know, I escaped from a very violent marriage.

"If I hadn't found help, and a refuge, I doubt I would be here now.

"Everybody going through abuse needs to know that there is a way out."

'Tension and adrenalin'

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: "We've seen a link between sporting events and the tension around it and people's excessive use of alcohol, and when those things come together we see a huge increase in the number of domestic abuse offences reported.

"In a sporting event we get as many as nine or ten times the number of incidents recorded."

He added that winning or losing a match had no bearing on the statistics as he believed that it is the "tension and adrenalin" involved "regardless of outcome" that fuels domestic violence.

"We want to urge victims, their friends and families not to wait, but to seek help and advice immediately before the abuse escalates," he said.

GMP has joined forces with Independent Choices and the Women's Aid Helpline to launch the campaign, called End the Fear.

The posters will be displayed across pubs, hospitals, surgeries and buses.

Sam Priestley, chief officer of Independent Choices, said: "We are very encouraged that the Greater Manchester region has come together with a strong voice against domestic abuse during this World Cup.

"Our message is seek help, and the earlier the better, even if it is just to find out your options, local support is available."

The Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline is on 0161 636 7525.

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