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West Mercia Women’s Aid is seeking to raise awareness of domestic abuse ahead of the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil, which kicks off later this week.

Research suggests that during big sporting events reports of domestic abuse increase.

The statistics make for sobering reading :
• During the 2006 World Cup held in Germany, Home Office data showed a 31% rise in domestic violence reports on the day of England's 1-0 victory over Paraguay;
• On the day of England's exit from the tournament, beaten on penalties by Portugal, reports increased by just over 30%;
• On average there was a 25% rise in domestic violence reports on the days of England games, with one in four offenders found to be under the influence of alcohol.

Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia 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”.

About two women a week are killed by their partner or ex-partner although it is important to remind people that this kind of abuse doesn't just affect women; Home Office data indicates that around 30 men a year are killed within a domestic abuse context.

By working in partnership with other agencies dedicated to tackling domestic abuse, West Mercia Police is reassuring local communities that that they are fully prepared for any associated increase in crime and disorder.   They have plans in place to deal with any extra demand for domestic abuse assistance and will, as ever, be encouraging victims to come forward and seek support.

Jan concluded : "Given the fact that research shows that there is an increased prospect of domestic abuse during the World Cup, we will be adopting an even greater proactive approach to ensure the safety of victims and their families."