Expert Answers: World Cup soccer violence... in the home

When he goes out with his mates, my husband drinks heavily and can get a bit aggressive. He has never hurt me but I am worried about the World Cup because he and his mates are planning a lot of big drinking sessions.

It is a known fact that domestic violence does increase during a World Cup.

This year, there is a major campaign to ensure that violence – particularly domestic attacks – does not mar the World Cup. Hard-hitting posters depicting a woman's back scarred by blows sparked by penalties, red cards and disallowed goals, are part of the local and national purge.

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In Leeds, a dedicated police domestic violence response car, staffed by specially-trained officers with equipment including head cameras, will be on standby to respond to victims and collect evidence.

In north-west Leeds, officers will issue "grab bags" containing alarms and devices to help potential victims create a "safe room".

The Proceeds of Crime Trust, in north-east Leeds, has donated cash – seized from criminals – to fund vouchers for food and essentials to help women forced to leave their homes in a rush.

And the Leeds crime reduction partnership, Safer Leeds, has commissioned outreach workers to accompany police attending domestic violence incidents.

Det Insp Granville Ward, of the police Child and Public Protection Unit, said: "We know that domestic violence increased during the last World Cup and it is hoped that by raising awareness of this, we may be able to prevent history repeating itself.

"My message to victims is you don't have to put up with violence or abuse.

"If you feel at risk, think about what you can do to make yourself safe and ask for help from either your local police safeguarding unit or voluntary groups in your area."

To men who have committed violence against partners and are at risk of attacking again, he said: "This is often increased by excessive drinking, poorly managed emotions and a decision to resort to violence.

"Think about the consequences of your actions and what you can do to stop. Contact your local probation service for advice and help."

For help, contact police on 0845 6060606 or visit www.westyork shire.police.uk

In an emergency, dial 999 and, if at risk of abuse, call Women's Aid national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000247 or Respect on 0845 1228690 (open Mon-Fri 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm). Calls are confidential.

Paul Charlson

GP from Brough

I am not quite clear what you are concerned about. Is it that your husband might harm you? Or is it that you are concerned that he might get into a fight and hurt himself or someone else?

Do you consider your husband's drinking habits themselves to be an issue? Or is it the effect of the alcohol on his personality that is an issue?

What ever it is there is clearly an issue that you need to resolve. Many people who have a problem with alcohol can get annoyed when you approach the subject.

Similarly, your husband might feel that you are trying to restrict his freedom. Hence you must be careful how you approach the subject.

It is important that you do and clearly express your anxieties, which is why I posed the initial questions. You must be clear in your own mind what exactly you are concerned about and what you want to achieve by discussing it with your husband.

I think your husband does have drinking problem but whether he will want to tackle this is another matter. I think you should start by sitting down and telling him of your concerns.

Elaine Douglas

A chartered psychologist who specialises in family and child relationships

I do think it is right that everyone needs their own space – even when in a relationship, and you seem to be tolerant of the fact that he is "one of the lads".

The worrying thing though is his tendency to drink too much, and even more disturbing is the fact that he can become aggressive.

Is this something that you have discussed together before? Is he aware that it upsets you and that you are concerned about what could happen with these sessions he's planning?

I really feel that you need to tell him how you are feeling, but the key to all of this will be when you tackle the subject and how you go about it.

I would try to think of a way of voicing your concerns without it seeming too critical as he may go on the defensive if he feels that you are having a go at him. Talk to him about the football and let him know that you understand how much he is looking forward to it, then introduce the fact that you are a bit worried about all the drinking sessions.

Cary Cooper

Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University

I have heard this same concern expressed by a number of women over the last few weeks.

When men get together in drinking and sporting groups, I am afraid that excessive drinking can be the norm. I suspect it is because men need alcohol as their social lubricant, to help them unwind and get their emotions out.

There is a real danger that, given the few weeks of the World Cup, this could become a problem for a number of women, particularly those who have husbands or partners who tend to get aggressive under the influence.

I would let him know now that you are very worried about his drinking and potential aggressiveness. He will probably deny that he will drink too much or become aggressive, but at least you have forewarned him of your concerns, which might temper it somewhat.

Another more extreme approach would be to say that if he does drink to excess, and if he behaves aggressively toward you as a consequence, you will spend the rest of the World Cup away from the family home.

Dr Carol Burniston

Consultant Clinical Child Psychologist

I guess there are several options open to you; you can discuss your husband's plans and let him know about your concerns as he probably has no idea that you are sometimes worried by his potential for aggression when he has had a drink.

Alternatively, you could suggest that some of the viewing of World Cup matches takes place in a more family orientated way or chose to do something with your girlfriends that keeps you out of the way until he has recovered from any excess drinking the next day. It depends how much you enjoy watching the football.

I would be tempted to talk to your husband first and to choose a time when he hasn't had a drink. You will know when the best time to discuss important things is, usually when he is not tired, stressed or hungry. If he is not receptive to your thoughts and feelings, keeping out of his way might be the most pragmatic approach.

Let your husband enjoy the football but ensuring your own wellbeing is paramount.