As we move into the knockout stages of the Euros, tensions and passions are increasing across the UK. Devoted fans are coming out to enjoy the weather and support the team as they move every step closer to the dream of lifting the trophy. The further the team gets in the tournament, so the intensity of emotions will rise, igniting excitement, joy, and, in some cases, rage across the nation.

There is a darker side to large-scale football events, heavily impacting the physical and mental health of many people across the UK. And the link between domestic violence and large-scale football matches has been well documented. Lancaster University found a 38% increase in domestic abuse when the England team played. More recently, West Mercia Police reported that domestic violence increased by 11% the day after an England match.

Domestic abuse is a growing problem within the UK, with 1 in 5 adults experience domestic violence during their lifetime. This means that 1 in every 5 of your employees could be coping with domestic abuse in your workplace right now.

Bertrand Stern-Gillet, CEO at Health Assured, says:

Whilst the Euros, and other football events, do not directly cause domestic abuse, offences increase dramatically while matches are played, highlighting a vast problem within the UK that must be understood and addressed. We believe it is immensely important to be aware of the increased risk and spotlight the need to support and protect vulnerable victims.

Bertrand Stern-Gillet, CEO at Health Assured

How can employers be aware of the signs an employee may be suffering from domestic abuse?

Some signs may include:

•Unexplained injuries

•Declining performance

•Mood changes or changes in attitude or behaviour

•Increased absences

•Withdrawing from interacting with colleagues

•Becoming obsessed with timekeeping

•Being secretive or not talking about their home life

•Increased fatigue

•A partner stalking the employee at the workplace or waiting outside for them to finish

What support can leaders offer employees who are victims of domestic abuse?

1.Create a confidential and safe space to talk

Create a safe and private space for potential victims to feel supported, heard, and allow them to have a voice to disclose the abuse and seek help. It is imperative to keep all conversations confidential, so make sure there is a dedicated space to talk openly and honestly without interruptions.

2.Offer training for your leaders

Providing training for your leaders, managers, and supervisors is a sure way for them to understand how to support employees who are dealing with domestic abuse. This gives them confidence to spot the signs and offer practical support.

3.Signpost to relevant information

Provide and understand necessary, up-to-date, and useful information about organisations and support systems that help victims of domestic violence. Signposting to relevant information offers access to lifesaving information and help for potential victims that they may not be able to access from home.

Organisations, such as Women’s Aid, Men’s advice line, and the Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline are great and trusted organisations to start with.

4.Be flexible

Offering flexibility for domestic abuse victims provides extra time for them to deal with the potentially severe consequences of domestic violence. Allowing greater flexibility and control over their working environment may empower victims and give them the opportunity to focus on their mental wellbeing and safety.

5.Offer practical support

There are various steps that can be taken, for example, alerting reception to the identity of the abuser, offering safe car parking facilities and ensuring the employee is accompanied to their car before and after work. Providing new mobile phone numbers and email addresses and giving paid time off to attend appointments and arrange new accommodation are also simple but important steps.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.