FIFA World Cup 2022: Children will face greater risk of domestic abuse during Qatar tournament warns NSPCC

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has warned children are at greater risk of abuse during the FIFA World Cup.

The World Cup in Qatar has arrived as football fans from across the globe come together to support their country. While pride, patriotism and excitement are regular feelings for most, the NSPCC warns that is not the case for everyone.

According to the British child protection charity, cases of domestic abuse are known to soar over the course of tournaments like this. A study found that during past World Cups, contacts to the NSPCC helpline jumped by 33 percent above the monthly average, amounting to more than 1,000 calls.

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The charity believes this is caused by a combination of factors, including high levels of emotional stress, alcohol consumption and sports betting. All of which act as potential triggers to acts of violence in the home.

A 13-year-old girl, who contacted Childline during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, said: “My brother gets very aggressive when he drinks, he shouts at us for no reason and demands money from my mum. Today, after the England game, he came home drunk and hit my mum in the face, so I had to call the police.

“He’s been causing trouble for years and, to be honest, I’m done with him. I wish he could just disappear from our lives so that me and my mum weren’t so scared all the time.”

With recent UK government data revealing that at least 250,000 children are impacted by domestic abuse in England alone, the NSPCC are urging the government for further intervention to support vulnerable children. The plea comes just months after children became officially recognised as victims of domestic abuse as part of the Domestic Abuse Act that was passed in January.

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This has led to calls for the UK Government to deliver a Victims Bill that is strengthened to ensure specialist support is available for all children impacted by domestic abuse. The Government published a draft Bill in May, but children and families are still waiting for it to be brought before Parliament.

Sir Peter Wansless, who is the Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said: ““The majority of fans across the country will enjoy the World Cup with friends and family but for many children living with domestic abuse it will bring nervousness, fear and even violence. Anyone who hears or sees something worrying regarding a child while watching the football can reach out to the NSPCC Helpline for confidential advice.

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“Domestic abuse can decimate a child’s confidence and sense of security and without support it can have a devastating impact at the time and long into the future. The Government could take a step towards ensuring children have the opportunity to recover from domestic abuse by pressing ahead with a Victims Bill that recognises the needs of the hundreds of thousands of children living in violent homes.”

Are you worried about a child, or are you a child who needs support due to domestic violence? You can contact the NSPCC Helpline for support and advice which is totally free-of-charge. You can reach them via telephone on 0808 800 5000 or online through the official NSPCC website. Children also have the opportunity to contact Childline at any time to help themselves.