Domestic Violence and Football: A feasibility study

  • Williamson, Emma (Principal Investigator)
  • Brookes, Oona (Co-Investigator)
  • Lombard, Nancy (Co-Investigator)

Project Details


This feasibility study involved consulting with a range of key stakeholders to discuss how we can better understand, measure, and respond to the potential links between football and domestic violence/abuse (dva[i]). Current research suggests there may be a link between football and dva but we do not yet have an adequate understanding of this link, or what it might mean for victims/survivors, perpetrators, those who provide support services or footballing organisations.

The key issues to arise were:

• Confusion about the current state of evidence and the limitations within the quantitative knowledge base. Key stakeholders still don’t know with any certainty if there is a link between dva and football, and what that might mean for practice.
• Concerns that football is an incidental trigger and therefore unreasonably targeted in relation to other sports and other ‘triggers’ to abuse and violence more broadly.
• Survivors, in particular, thought football could and should do more to challenge negative attitudes and opinions about women and challenge abuse. [It should be recognised that this may be an issue of communication of engagements which are already taking place].
• Positive commitment from all stakeholders to explore the in depth meanings behind the quantitative data in order to improve that data and our understandings of sport and dva more widely.
• There was a lack of ‘government led’ policy initiatives around the issue in England, when compared to the Scottish work which has already taken place, for example police initiatives to target known offenders and support survivors during ‘high risk’ games.
• In Scotland there was less engagement with the relevant footballing authorities (outside of issues traditionally associated with Rangers and Celtic matches)). The work in England has been led by Women’s Aid, England through their Football United © initiative.

[i] We use the phrase domestic violence/abuse, or dva, in recognition of the different terminology used in Scotland and England.

1. Disseminate, via the key stakeholders, the evidence literature review compiled by the co-authors (Crowley et al, 2015[i]).
2. Support joint working between Scottish Women’s Aid, Women’s Aid England, and Scottish footballing authorities.
3. Look, with Football United, and with assistance from Scottish policy makers, at where government led opportunities in England are possible.
4. Assist in the positive communication and dissemination of Football United.
5. Work with the stakeholder group on the submission of one or more of the following research options.
Effective start/end date1/04/151/11/15

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Gender and Violence Research


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