Women’s Aid’s latest campaign raising awareness around domestic abuse during the World Cup has gained praise for its “powerful” message.
The campaign was first launched in 2014 to work with the football community in highlighting how increased alcohol consumption and high emotion levels associated with big football matches can increase existing domestic abuse.
This year, the charity launched an advertising campaign on Friday 25 November to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and to coincide with England’s second group game against the USA in the World Cup.
A 2014 study found that the risk of domestic abuse rises whether or not the England team wins, draws, or loses. When the team won or drew, the risk rose by 26 per cent. This went up by 38 per cent when the team lost.
The advert launched by Women’s Aid shows a neighbourhood full of England fans watching the World Cup and cheering the national team on, with England flags draped outside houses.
As the camera pans through the neighbourhood, a commentator can be heard talking about the game in the background. It begins with cheering, but shortly descends into shouts of frustration or anger over the match.
Viewers eventually settle on a house as the advert’s audio turns ominous. Outside the house, a large England flag with the words “He’s coming home” is draped over the front.
A message at the end reads: “1.6m women experiencing domestic abuse need your support too.”
Many people took to social media to comment on how impactful the advert is and urged others to contact Women’s Aid if they need help.
“Over a decade working in ad agencies and I’ve never seen a campaign as good as this Women’s Aid one,” Lauren Fabianski, campaign manager at Pregnant Then Screwed, tweeted.
Another person said they had “chills looking at this”, while a third described the advert as “foreboding”.
“I think about this a lot. Then add in how much it goes up over the holiday period too,” another added.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “There is a role for everyone to play in helping to end domestic abuse, and raising awareness of the support available during major tournaments like the upcoming World Cup can help many women living with abusive partners.
“While domestic abuse is not caused by football, we know existing abuse can become more severe or frequent during big tournaments. We ask everyone to help share our posters and adverts at this important time.
“We know that violence against women is a spectrum, running from sexist jokes and so called ‘banter’, through to violent crimes and murder. Sexist jokes enable a culture where women can be demeaned, controlled, harmed and abused.”
She continued: “To help end domestic abuse, therefore, we must also tackle sexism and misogyny, and safely challenge attitudes and comments where we can. On this front, football can have a very powerful and positive role to play.”