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Police and partners working together across West Mercia are launching a joint campaign during the World Cup 2014 to deter perpetrators of domestic abuse and encourage those affected to seek help.
 
Det Supt Stephen Cullen said “Our statistics indicate that reported domestic abuse can increase during international football tournaments by 27% on days when England plays. Heightened emotions and alcohol among the population as a whole are all contributory factors.”
“We are not saying that football fans are more likely to perpetrate domestic abuse, but that football fans make up a wide cross-section of society, and domestic abuse happens throughout all levels of society.”
 
“We are sending the clear message to perpetrators of domestic abuse that if you ‘kick off at home’ you can expect to face a 28 day ban.”
 
From 2 June, new powers mean that officers across the whole of West Mercia entering a home in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence can prevent the perpetrator from returning to the address and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days by initially serving a Notice on them.
 
West Mercia Police initially piloted the scheme in Worcestershire between June 2011 and 2012.  It was later rolled out in Herefordshire and from 2 June to Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.
 
The magistrates’ court must then hear the case for the Domestic Violence Protection Order within 48 hours of the Notice being made.
 
If granted, the Order may last between a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days. This strikes a balance between immediate protection for the victim and judicial oversight.
 
This is one of many measures we will have in place to address domestic abuse during the World Cup.
 
Det Supt Cullen added “As well as improving immediate protection for victims and their children, this allows the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of a support agency. It also allows the police to look at the investigation in the cold light of day and work with the victim to arrive at the right outcome. “
 
Bill Longmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: “I am pleased to see that West Mercia Police and its partners are taking positive action to provide a focus on preventing domestic abuse during the forthcoming World Cup. New domestic abuse powers have recently been introduced and will be actively used to minimise harm in our communities during the football tournament.”
 
Jan Frances of Women’s Aid said “Like other events where there is heightened emotion, stress and possible disappointment, the World Cup is a time when we may expect a rise in domestic abuse. Our helpline is available 24 hours a day for advice, information and support, and we would urge anyone who thinks they may be at risk to ring us. Don’t suffer in silence – we can help”.
 
Det Supt Cullen added “We will be engaging with statutory and voluntary agencies including the Glade SARC and the courts to heighten awareness that there may be a potential increase in reporting of Domestic abuse during this period.
 
We will also be looking at other safeguarding measures that can be put in place.
 
For example, by using analytical work to identify potential repeat offenders of domestic abuse we can be ready to act sooner. This may mean increased patrols in the area able to respond quicker, briefing local officers so they are aware, personally visiting the potential perpetrator and referral to MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference) if the circumstances are assessed as high risk, so that a variety of protective measures can be put in place.
 
We will also be promoting the use of body worn video where available when attending incidents of domestic abuse and extra resources will be put in place the day following a match where a game falls on a weekend for example. This will consist of a team of police staff as well as dedicated investigative capability so that enquiries around domestic abuse incidents can be fast tracked.
 
Please look out for the 'World Cup' posters that police and partners have distributed across the region both to deter perpetrators of domestic abuse and encourage those affected by domestic abuse to seek help.  Police and partners will also be using social media to inform, raise awareness and challenge the public’s views around domestic abuse - please follow us.