Torbay Council and Devon and Cornwall Police are encouraging victims of domestic abuse to seek help and support during this year’s World Cup.

England's World Cup dreams are over and the group stages have come to an end, but domestic violence will continue for many victims.

James Stock Domestic Abuse Unit Sergeant Devon and Cornwall Police said “The World Cup is a great opportunity for football fans to get together and enjoy the games, but for many victims of domestic abuse it will be a time to dread. Perpetrators of domestic abuse seek control over their victims; they can’t control a football match if a game doesn’t go the way they want it to, so a perpetrator is much more likely to be in a heightened state of aggression and will seek to regain control by abusing their victim or victims. If alcohol is involved that can also create additional risks for victims, although to clarify, alcohol does not cause or excuse domestic abuse - perpetrators choose to cause abuse. There are a huge number of people who consume alcohol in this country without ever seeking to control and harm another person.

“Intimate relationships are complicated and private and Devon and Cornwall Police appreciate how difficult it is for any victim of domestic abuse to seek help. There is a dedicated Domestic Abuse Unit in Torbay run by specially trained police officers and we would encourage any victim of domestic abuse to contact us on telephone 01803 218969. In an emergency we would always advise victims to telephone 999."

Domestic abuse is abusive or violent behaviour between partners, ex-partners or family members. Often the abuser is a man and the abused is a woman, but not always. Domestic abuse is not just about physical violence and often includes a number of other controlling and coercive behaviours.

Forms of domestic abuse include: emotional, physical, sexual, financial, social, forced marriage and ‘honour based’ violence, stalking and harassment.

Domestic abusive can take place in heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender relationships and can involve other family members, for example a daughter abusing a mother. Anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of their age, lifestyle, religion, race or disability and the impact of domestic abuse on children can be devastating.

Torbay Council's Executive Lead for Safer Communities, Councillor Robert Excell, said: “This World Cup many people will have fun, but for victims of domestic abuse the games can create a huge risk. A question often asked about domestic abuse is why doesn’t he or she just leave? The reality is that it can be extremely difficult for a victim to even consider leaving an abusive partner.

Perpetrators of abuse often isolate an individual from their family and friends so that they have nobody to turn to. They are likely to be in complete control of the family finances, meaning that a victim will feel trapped and physically unable to find anywhere else to live. Perpetrators often emotionally abuse their victims so that a victim will feel like they are not worth being helped. They also make threats and are likely to threaten to hurt a victim and/or someone or something that they love should they leave. We know that victims of abuse and their children if they have them, are at the biggest risk of physical harm or death when they are at the point of leaving an abusive relationship.

“This World Cup we would like to highlight to victims that help and support is available and that nobody has the right to abuse them. If a victim does not feel ready to speak with the police they can contact Torbay’s Domestic Abuse Support Service for information and advice by calling 01803 217614."

For a list of local and national support services and helplines please visit

Notes for editors

Other useful contacts:

  • The Intercom Trust is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) organisation that offer a confidential community helpline on 0800 612 3010.
  • Male victims of abuse can contact Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.
  • Anyone who lives in Torbay and needs information, advice, a safe place to go or emergency accommodation can call 01803 524594.
  • Torbay Council also provides free advice and assistance to people who have housing enquiries especially anyone affected by homelessness and those who are worried they might lose their home. A phone service is available on 01803 208723 Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00. Outside these hours the number is 0300 456 4876, but for emergency housing related enquiries only.
  • Anyone in immediate danger should always call the police on 999. 

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