A PREGNANT woman was kicked in the stomach by her partner after England’s loss to Italy in the World Cup.
The sickening attack, which took place in Waterlooville, is just one of many domestic violence calls police are expecting during the World Cup.
Historically, incidents of domestic abuse increase during large-scale events when the pressures of family, money and an increase in alcohol consumption place additional strain on relationships.
Local police are taking a tough stance and are encouraging victims to come forward during the World Cup.
Officers from Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, and Havant are stepping up patrols during the England matches and dedicated teams will be assigned to domestic violence for the match tomorrow.
During England’s first game last Saturday, a police car was deployed 11 times to instances of domestic violence, which is a marked increase on the usual figure.
One arrest was made and other prosecutions are also being pursued by officers.
Twenty referrals were made so that victims can get extra help from support services for people who have been abused.
Sergeant Garry Smith, from Havant police, who is helping to co-ordinate the operation, said offenders will face stern treatment.
He said: ‘The football World Cup is a time for enjoying yourself, having fun and watching the games.
‘However, sadly for some the time can lead to a rise in domestic abuse.
‘Even the healthiest relationship can suffer stress and strain over the matches.
‘It is also a recognised fact that alcohol plays a big part in many incidents and in addition it is not just partners who are affected; often children witness the abuse and can be severely traumatised by it.’
Officers will respond to incidents alongside volunteers from Aurora New Dawn – a service that offers support to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The joint patrols mean victims have instant access to help.
In one case on Saturday, a woman decided to leave an abusive relationship she had been in for four years, thanks to the advice from a volunteer from Aurora New Dawn.
Sergeant Smith added: ‘We are here to provide support for victims, to put offenders before the courts and to let victims know what help and support is available.’
For more information about the support networks available to help both victims and offenders visit aurorand.org.uk.