10 July 2010

Domestic violence and the World Cup

According to a May 25 press release by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), “cases of domestic abuse increase by nearly 30% on England match days.”

The shocking figure was from a study prepared and publicized by the Home Office. Determined to stem the assaults, officials flooded pubs and the airwaves with graphic warnings such as the one on the left.

Dreadful what these proles get up to when their base patriotic instincts become aroused, what?

As usual, Britain is copying the worst aspects of US culture about twenty years after it has been revealed to be rubbish. In 1993 there was a similar hoo-hah in the States about an alleged link between the Super Bowl and domestic violence. Subsequently shown to be completely false.

In National Review, Christina Hoff Sommers draws attention to a BBC (gulp - that was a crow being eaten) report that exposed the belated British imitation of the US fraud:

BBC legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg and producer Wesley Stephenson recently investigated the alleged link between the televised World Cup games and violence in the home for their weekly program Law in Action. On June 22 - day twelve of the 2010 World Cup - they aired the story. It included an interview with a prominent Cambridge University statistician, Sheila Bird, whom they had asked to review the Home Office study and its finding of a 30 percent increase in domestic abuse. She found it to be so amateurish and riddled with flaws that it could not be taken seriously. The 30 percent claim was based on a cherry-picked sample of police districts; it failed to correct for seasonal differences and essentially ignored match days that showed little or no increase in domestic violence. Professor Bird also noted that improved police practices can lead to increased reports of violence but do not necessarily indicate more violence. A telltale sign that something is amiss in the Home Office is that it also disseminates the claim that "one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence". That impossibly high figure may be the result of a rather expansive definition of “domestic violence” - which includes not only physical and sexual violence but also emotional and “financial” abuse. The BBC Law in Action program also unearthed a serious study by the London Metropolitan Police Authority that contradicted the “official” 30 percent finding. But thanks to a sensational media campaign sanctioned by the Home Office, the reasonable and credible findings of the Metropolitan Police went unnoticed.
So thanks, Home Secretary Theresa May, for propagating a falsehood designed to portray women as victims. And, by no means incidentally, to denigrate harmless patriotism. This is the same woman who appealed for the effeminization of Tory party to overcome the image of being the "nasty" party it had acquired under the leadership of - umm - the triumphantly feminist Margaret Thatcher.

The only consolation is that the Home Office is a notorious career-killer, so we probably won't have to put up with too many further imbecilities from Theresa May. It speaks very ill of the coalition government that one of its few female office-holders is indistinguishable from her ineffectual, bleating-heart predecessor.

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